If I had to choose a vegetable as my nemesis it might be butternut squash. Between November and about March we get a lot of butternut in our weekly vegetable box and every winter I wonder what will I do with it. Maybe nemesis is too strong a word since I don’t dislike butternut squash. But it’s a constant struggle to find new ways to eat it so that it doesn’t get boring. At least this week the standings are Me: 1, Butternut Squash: 0 because of this recipe for Squash and Lime. Yes lime; they really do go together.
Almost a year ago I made a recipe from Plenty, one of my favorite cookbooks, that involved slices of butternut squash roasted with spices and topped with chiles, lime, and yogurt. It was beautiful and delicious but it was also a pain to make with all the preparation steps. Not really a throw-together-in-an-hour dish unless you really planned ahead. But the combination was pretty genius – the lime perks up the sweet rich flavor of butternut squash and the spices add a much-needed savory note.
This version takes about 40 minutes from start to finish and it’s less refined than it’s inspiration. But it does taste just as good and the orange squash, pale green limes, and the tangy sauce look quite beautiful on their own –although sadly the sauce isn’t in the pictures. More to the point it makes butternut squash – which I often find very sweet without much other flavor – taste exciting and perhaps even nuanced.
And of course, this is the last day of NaBloPoMo and while not all the posts have gone up in what you would call a timely manner they have all gone up, an accomplishment I’m more than a little proud of. If you’ve come to enjoy daily posts I’m sorry to say you’ll have to go back to two posts a week (although much more regular than they were before). If you thought the quality suffered a bit, well, I agree with you, so you can also look forward to somewhat more put-together posts in the future too. But mostly thanks for sticking around for this month’s grand adventure. I’m taking the weekend off and then I’ll be back next week.
Butternut Squash with Lime
Adapted from Plenty by Yottam Ottolenghi
Makes about 4 servings
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into approximately 1 inch cubes, something bite-sized
1 tbs oil
1 tsp cumin seed*
1 tsp coriander seed
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp sesame seed
1 tsp kosher salt
2 limes, supremed into slices – there’s a tutorial on that right here
½ cup yogurt
¼ cup tahini
1 clove garlic, made into a paste**
1 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 475F (the roasting temperature) and line a baking sheet with foil.
In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the cumin and coriander together until mostly broken down (some whole pieces are fine). Add the smoked paprika, sesame seed, and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Pour the spices into the bottom of a large bowl and add the oil. Stir to combine then pour in the squash and mix it together so the squash is fully coated with the oil and spice. Pour the spiced squash onto the baking sheet so that it makes one evenly spread-out layer and roast it for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender but not mushy.
While the squash is roasting, supreme the limes and set the slices aside. In another bowl combine the yogurt, tahini, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until well mixed. Set this aside as well.
When the squash is done you have two options – serve a varied temperature dish with hot squash and room temperature limes and sauce (delicious) or let the squash cool to room temperature and serve everything that way (also delicious). To serve, mix the squash and lime slices together gently so that a little lime juice mixes with the squash but not so much that you break up the slices into little bits. Top with a few dollops of the sauce or serve it on the side so everyone can take as much as they like.
* If you don’t have whole spices then just use the same amount of pre-ground – it will be more spice total but the flavor will be about the same.
**For an uncooked sauce like this I prefer not to put the garlic through a press since it does much more damage to the cell walls and makes the garlic especially pungent. To make it into a paste without pressing, finely chop the garlic, sprinkle it with ¼ teaspoon of salt, and then press and drag the flat of your knife over the salt/garlic pile several times. Repeat this until the pieces have become a flatted paste on the cutting board.