Saturday, October 9, 2010
An Ode to Squash: The Red-headed Stepchild of the Produce Aisle
Why has that *other* everyday staple of traditional american cultures, the squash, become the unloved stepchild of the produce section? It's brothers- corn and potato- are rocking the world, one recipe at a time- but poor little unloved squash is relegated to the 'gourmet's and snob's only" column? Since when? And why?
Now, I will admit that I myself had never had squash probably until I was an adult- which is a tragedy. It is soooo good, and easy to make- and cheap, to boot. I suspect that the fact that it cannot be eaten raw might work against it, but then again, corn and potatos need to be cooked too, and nobody looks at you like you have three heads when you say they are on the menu for dinner...
I have used yellow squash and zucchini in many recipes now and love them all- and as summer turned to fall, the time for heartier squashes- acorn, butternut, spaghetti, and buttercup- made me want to find new recipes and ways to enjoy this odd-looking, yet delicious fruit.
This squash, named for the stringy flesh that comes out after cooking- is slightly sweet. My favorite way to serve it is with red onion, cheese, fresh black pepper and salt. I know a lot of folks who like butter and cinnamon- not my personal taste, but if you are a fan of sweet/savory combos with cinnamon, highly recommended. The most fun way, perhaps, is to top with mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomato sauce- just like real spaghetti!
Butternut or Acorn Squash
I love roasting either of these squashes with a bit of butter and brown sugar in their "bowls"- and then spread this over the finished squash!!
Last but not least, good ol' pumpkin. I have not yet made this at home- but always look for curried pumpkin soup on menus in the fall.