It might appear in the transcript of my BGSK life that I’ve become a bit of a dinner party delinquent. This is partially, but not entirely true. I still try to have people over for a meal once a week, which is certainly down from the 2-3 night frequency that in part gave birth to this site, but by no means qualifies me as a bore (or so I keep telling myself).
The problem is, I have become a bit of a snooze when it comes to my menu. I’ve been cooking a lot of my tried and true (and easy!) main courses, and relying on ye ole side salad to round out the dinner. It’s been efficient and stress-free, but now that it’s 2012, the whole routine just feels a little uninspired.
Enter: Delicata squash.
Step one to rehabilitating my dinner party delinquency has been to switch out the salad for a warm veggie side. Though carrying five pounds of squash home is certainly more of a drag than 10 ounces of arugula, it more than pays off in the kitchen. Delicata is one of the least labor-intensive winter squash. It requires no pesky peeling, like butternut, which you couldn’t pay me money to put on a dinner party menu these days. And this dish has become one of my new go-to’s.
The tangy balsamic and earthy oregano are the perfect compliment to the sweet and delicate delicata, and once you get the goods home, it’s barely more work than a composed green salad. If you’re feeling like jazzing up your side dish routine, I highly recommend giving this one a turn on the rotation.
From my kitchen, dishing up new sides, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Warm Delicata Squash Salad with Balsamic-Oregano Drizzle
Makes 4-6 side servings
It sounds like a lot of squash, but it really cooks down in the oven. Plus, it’s so delicious, you’ll be more than pleased if there ends up being extra yield!
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pounds delicata squash
2 medium red onions, halved and cut into thin half moons
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Remove the ends of the squash and cut it in half length-wise. Scoop out the seeds and stringy interior (a grapefruit spoon works well for this). Cut the squash into ½ inch slices. The end result will look like crescent moons.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the squash together with the onions, olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Arrange in an even layer and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and tender.
In the meantime, combine the vinegar, oregano, chili flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt . The oil and vinegar might not emulsify, but that’s okay.
Transfer the squash to a serving bowl and drizzle with the balsamic mixture. Garnish with additional oregano, and serve immediately.