Monday, February 1, 2010

Delicata Delicacy

Squash is something that I still quite honestly do not get that excited about and do not really know what to do with. So that has probably been one of the bigger challenges for us in the BellingHome each week is trying to figure out what to do with this nutritious locally grown winter vegetable as it continues to arrive in our Dandelion Organic Delivery Box. They are a beautiful species in all their varieties, don't get me wrong, and they can make a fantastic centerpiece for a lovely fall tablescape with their bright, vivacious colors. But my current motivation lies in figuring out how to turn these eye poppers into mouthwatering treats and I'm still getting the hang of these colorful creations.

So far we've received in our deliveries a few Delicata Squashes, an Acorn Squash, and a couple of Spaghetti Squash. We tried baking the spaghetti squash and topping with a homemade pomodoro sauce. Not my favorite. The Acorn squash we served the old fasioned way, slow roasted in the oven with butter and brown sugar. How can you go wrong with that?

Delicata Squash (pictured to the right) has a long oval shape with a bumpy exterior and tends to be yellow in color with green and orange accents. With the first round of delicatas we made an awesome vanilla squash risotto that was more dessert than side dish. Lovely as it was, trying to peel a delicata squash wasn't something I wanted to tackle again any time soon with it's numerous grooves and indentations. I think that recipe is better reserved for a smooth squash like a butternut. So when I read on this week that Delicatas have a thin enough skin that you can actually cook and eat it too when prepared right, I was game to try their recipe for Delicata Squash with Orange & Pistachios, peel and all made right on the stove top from start to finish. For a full recipe please visit their website via the link above.

The Recipe could not have been easier to prepare. Start by rinsing your squash thoroughly. Then cut in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds (or "vegetable guts" as I like to call them). Next, slice the squash thinly into half moon discs leaving peels in tact.

Heat some olive oil in a nonstick skillet and stir fry a thinly sliced shallot for two minutes until lightly browned. Then add sliced squash, 3/4 cup orange juice, some zest of orange, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook about 8 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Then remove lived and stir fry another 10 to 15 minutes until squash is tender and lightly browned. Garnish with roughly chopped salted pistachios (optional).

I was quite surprised at how good it was for how easy it was to prepare. True, it was not quite as exceptional as the risotto, but still quite tasty and for the amount of effort put in and I can assure you that we'll be making this super easy stove top stirfry mulitple times in the future before we get around to the risotto again.

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