"Autumn brings all the orange hues, bringing warmth to our hearts as well as our plates. Grilling and roasting the squash in wedges makes for wonderful shapes on the plate, plus the added bonus of ease as the skin is edible as are the seeds which toast beautifully on the tray with everything else.
This is another dish just as delicious eaten warm as at room temperature, so feel free to make it in advance or make extra for leftovers. If I don’t eat these straight off the griddle tray, I serve the roasted squash on a bed of greens, preferably sprout tops or as a second favourite, cavolo nero, blanched and burnished and tossed in a little herb butter.
I toss the greens in herb butter here, but feel free to use an anchovy or chili butter instead. Flavoured butters are a fridge essential, rolled up in parchment, they will keep for a couple of weeks happily ready to be used any time. They are fantastic melted onto steamed or roasted vegetables, smeared onto fish fillets before baking and stirred into warm rice or grains before serving. I also like to keep some in the freezer for emergency meal jazz. I use salted butter for everything and therefore have not added extra salt to the recipes. If you use unsalted don’t forget to add a good pinch of salt to the mixture."
Hanna Geller of Building Feasts
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
- 1 delicata squash or 1 medium acorn squash
- 2 tbsp garlic oil (if you have any to hand) or olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- handful of sage leaves
- salt and pepper
- 300g Sprout Tops (or Cavolo Nero / Chard / Kale)
- 3 spring onions (scallions) roughly chopped (white and green parts)
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 1 small bunch of each parsley, dill and tarragon and thinly sliced chives
- zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half a lemon (approx 1 tbsp)
- salt and pepper
Make the herb butter
Chop the spring onions, garlic, herbs and lemon zest together either by hand or pulse them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Tip the chopped herbs into a bowl and add the softened butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon (or pulse a few more times together in your food processor). Place a piece of parchment paper on the worktop with the long, straight side facing you. Heap the softened butter mixture into the centre in a rough oblong shape. Roll the side of parchment closest to you over the butter mixture, encasing it completely in the paper and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends like a sweetie wrapper to bring the mixture together into a tight roll. Place in the fridge to chill. Then just slice and use whenever you are ready.
Grill the Squash
Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Note: If something else is roasting in the oven at the same time at either a little higher or a little lower, do not worry, just roast the squash alongside for a few minutes more or less. The oven time is just to finish off the cooking as they are started on the hob).
Slice the delicata squash into rounds approximately 2cm thick (or into wedges if you are using any other variety) Drizzle a good glug (1 tbsp) of garlic or olive oil over the top, and sprinkle the allspice, Aleppo pepper, salt and pepper.
Heat your griddle pan until its hot but not smoking and add the squash, making sure not to cram it in too much so that it doesn’t steam. Turn the heat down to medium high and leave the squash to cook for about 5 - 8 minutes until its beginning to soften and the grill marks from the pan are well defined. Adjust the heat down slightly if they are charring too quickly.
Once they are nicely caramelised, turn them over, adding another little splash of oil to the pan or the uncooked side before turning over. Sprinkle with the sage leaves and allow to sear in the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to the oven for 10-15 minutes to cook through.
While the squash is roasting, separate the sprout top leaves and rinse through to remove any grit. If you are using cavolo nero or kale, strip the leaves from the tough centre ribs of the greens. Blanch the greens in well salted boiling water for about 2-3 minutes until they are just cooked through but still bright green. Drain immediately and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Squeeze out any excess water with your hands and roughly chop the leaves, ready to assemble.
Take the squash out of the oven and remove onto a plate to rest for a few minutes. Place the griddle back on the hob and place all the drained and dried leaves onto the pan with 2 slices of herb butter. Toss everything together to coat the leaves in the butter as it melts. Heat until the edges of the leaves begin to catch and char a little and they are glistening. Add a little more malden salt to the top of the leaves and top with the grilled squash pieces. For a little festive weeknight cheer and colour I spoon a little cranberry sauce or for something a little more savoury, a simple salsa verde or gremolata is a fresh alternative.
Hanna Geller of Building Feasts
Photos by Darcy Ward