Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Butternut squash

  • Slice a squash in half longways and scoop out the seeds and mush from the centre.
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil.
  • Roast in a 220°C oven for an hour or so, depending on the size of your squash. When it's ready it will be easy to scoop out with a spoon.
  • Whiz with water, more salt and pepper and some nutmeg if you wish.
  • That's it! Unless you want to add chives, but I'll leave you to figure out how.

  • Rinse the seeds, then dry on a tea towel.
  • Put them in a bowl and coat in sea salt (and spices if you want - I used ground coriander and cumin).
  • Dry fry in a pan, shaking regularly, til starting to pop.
  • Add a little oil and continue frying til brown and crispy.
  • Sprinkle on top of your soup for a toasted, popcorny crunch.
  • (I should have fried mine longer, so yours should not be as pale as mine.)

What did it taste like? For a practically one-ingredient recipe, this is amazing.

  1. Cutting 101: When cutting a hard, raw squash in half, be careful not to slip and kill yourself. Death will significantly hinder the completion of this soup. You may need to make two longways incisions that meet in the middle. Use a big, heavy knife if possible, point the tip through the centre of the squash, then lean down on the back of the knife, slicing through the stalk. Remove severed fingertips, turn around (the squash, not you, silly), then do the same with the bottom half, so the cuts join up through the centre.
  2. It's a pretty sweet soup so depending on your palate, you might want to add a different vegetable to balance it up, and you'll definitely want to add a truckload of black pepper. Black pepper is highly complimentary to sweet veggies such as squash or sweetcorn.
  3. If you want to do the seed thing, then keep a close eye on them as they toast and beware of the popping. Have a lid handy for your pan to keep them under control. But don't forget them and let them burn; they will do so as soon as you look away, much the same as pinenuts.
  4. You could add cream, crème fraîche, cream cheese, or coconut milk at the end. I also heard that adding Roquefort is a wonderful contrast to the sweetness of this soup, so I am eager to try this out.

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