I've been eating mad amounts of squash as of late. I've made this kabocha squash lentil soup twice in the past week (so good), and just last Saturday I huffed and puffed my way home from the market with a six-pound Rugosa squash. It sure was a doozy and the giant peanut-shaped thing has been staring at me ever since. Man I just KNOW my knife is gonna get stuck in that thing.
Which brings me to the delicata squash. Its yellow and green striped skin is so tender that your knife will slice right through it no problem. And there's no need to peel it either - the skin is soft enough to eat and actually tastes pretty damn good when roasted. I've also become very fond of the skin on a roasted Kabocha squash. I love it like I love the skin on a roasted potato - packed full of flavor I say. It's not for everyone though. Hameed likes to double check that I'm not throwing presumably "inedible" squash skins in his soup. Heck I might as well be throwing a decorative gourd in there.
A little weary from the squash overload but unable to stop myself from bringing it home with me, I was looking for something a little unusual and interesting. This one from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem cookbook caught my eye. The original recipe calls for butternut squash, which I love, but I really like the delicata squash here - it's a little less sweet (and takes half the time to cook). Mady and I piled everything on a big bed of arugula for lunch on Sunday, and it was perfect. The za'atar here is on point - you can easily make your own if you can't find it.
ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH WITH TAHINI AND ZA'ATAR (adapted slightly from Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Jerusalem)
- 2 pounds delicata squash
- 2 red onions, cut into wedges
- 3 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 1/2 tbsp. light tahini paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 3 1/2 tbsp. pine nuts
- 1 tbsp. za'atar
- 1 tbsp. coarsley chopped flat-leaf parsley
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups baby arugula
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the delicata squash in half length-wise, then use a spoon to remove the seeds. Cut each half into 1/2-inch wide half-moons. No peeling required.
Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the vegetables take on some color and are cooked through, giving them a toss mid-way through cooking.
To make the tahini sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if needed.
Pour the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts along with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.
To serve, divide the arugula among plates or bowls, spread the roasted squash and onion over the arugula, and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za'atar and parsley.