Saturday, January 7, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette

As much as I enjoy the changing of the seasons, there is a part of me that hates winter.  It's not the bitter cold or the snow - I can handle both of those things.  What I really dislike is that it's impossible to get any fresh vegetables in season at the farmers' market.  After a certain point all you can really find in the farmers' market is meat, seafood, baked goods, squash, apples and potatoes.  Oh and mushrooms - those usually stick around for most of the winter too.  But what I really want from the farmers' market is only around in the spring through the fall.  Don't get me wrong, I like squash and I really like apples.  But I miss the variety.  At the farmers' market today the only things that I could find that I wanted were squash and apples.  There were some greens available, but none that I found really appealing.  It didn't help that I was in a hurry so I didn't have a lot of time to poke around the different stalls to see what was available.

So I picked up this acorn squash and had to figure out what I wanted to do with it.  Luckily I picked out a few squash recipes before deciding on the recipe for Roasted Squash with Mint and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds that we used for Thanksgiving.  So I decided to make this recipe for dinner tonight.  I have been been struggling while trying to figure out what to serve with this squash for some time now.  Somehow I couldn't get my head around what to serve as the entree.  When I think squash I tend to think Italian food or American food.  But the chili vinaigrette here skews more Latin American/Southeast Asian.  Alex and I couldn't figure out what type of food this squash would pair better with because there aren't any spices or ingredients here to dictate whether the dressing should be Asian or Latin.  We had originally planned to serve it with an Asian noodle dish, but I decided last minute to just make some quick and easy egg tacos to serve with it instead.  Alex says that he preferred this recipe to the Roasted Squash with Mint and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds that we served for Thanksgiving.  I think I actually preferred the other recipe by a hair.  And I think my preference is largely due to the fact that I just can't figure out what to serve with this squash (which I can admit is a somewhat ridiculous reason).  I also think that the vinaigrette here obscures the natural sweetness of the squash, rather than playing it up.  With all of that said, it was a really interesting and unique play on squash that I thoroughly enjoyed.  We will be making it again - I just don't know what we will be serving it with.

Recipe after the jump!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette
October 2006
    2 (1 1/2 - to 1 3/4-lb) acorn squash
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1 teaspoon salt
    6 tablespoons olive oil
    1 garlic clove
    1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
    1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot red chile, including seeds
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
      Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450F. Halve squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard stem ends. Scoop out seeds and cut squash lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide wedges. Toss squash with black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl, then arrange, cut sides down, in 2 large shallow baking pans. Roast squash, switching position of pans halfway through roasting, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.

      While squash roasts, mince garlic and mash to a paste with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer paste to a small bowl and whisk in lime juice, chile (to taste), cilantro, and remaining 1/4 cup oil until combined. Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.

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