Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette

by Susan on October 27, 2010

A few months ago it was hard to imagine life without fresh tomatoes. But as it turns out, I’m pretty resilient.

During my recent trips to the grocery store I’ve been enamored with all things squash. There’s Butternut and Acorn. Spaghetti and Kabocha. They each have a distinct personality but collectively remind you that it’s fall.

Back in the day I would eat squash sprinkled with brown sugar and dressed with maple syrup, but these days I lean towards savory preparations. Squash is already sweet, why not spice it up? That’s the reason this particular recipe caught my eye last season. It’s since become part of my cool month repertoire.

Squash is easy to cook and hard to really screw up. The problem is you have to cut it first. Without the sharpest and biggest of knives you’ll be cursing and sweating (and laughing) as you try to disarm a squash of its seeds and skin. One of the great things about this recipe is the skin is a key element. It holds the squash together during cooking, adds a nice color contrast, and provides some texture.

The vinaigrette is tart and a little spicy – the perfect dressing for the sort-of-sweet acorn squash. The dish is super-easy to make, is attractive enough to serve to a crowd, and is just as delicious room temperature (and even cold for your lunch leftovers).

Tomato who?

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette
Adapted from Gourmet, October 2006
4 servings

2 acorn squash
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh jalapeno, including seeds

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450°F. 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 (sometimes I can squeeze them on one). Roast squash, switching position of pans halfway through roasting, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 20 to 30 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, jalapeno and remaining 1/4 cup oil until combined. Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.

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