Oct 17 2012
The Versatility of Delicata Squash
I’m writing this post with my back to our dining room window, which is currently the main source of light in our house. Portland General Electric has cut our power for the next 4 hours as they work to fix a power line that an unfortunate squirrel disrupted. The loss of power, even a planned one, is an annoyance for all of the obvious reasons. But it has also given me a way to singularly focus on the task at hand (in this case, writing this post), rather than flitting around doing dishes and laundry, checking email, and generally being distracted.
Which means that I can fully conjure up the flavors of this miso delicata squash, tofu, and potato dish. Using a recipe from Heidi Swanson, I first flagged the meal for consideration last year around this time, when the Union Square Greenmarket was flush with delicata squashes and I was seeking new ways to cook with them. At the time, I was hesitant in choosing the recipe; I’m not a huge fan of tofu (or any meat substitute for that matter) and didn’t know how the flavors would merge. Would it be unique and comforting, or a boring pile of roasted vegetables?
As you can guess by the accompanying photos, this dish is incredibly memorable. So much so that when farmers began selling delicata at Portland’s PSU Market, Justin and I immediately thought of this recipe and this recipe alone. The interesting (and user-friendly) thing about delicata squash is that its skin is delicate (delicata=delicate) enough to be completely edible after the squash is cooked. Prepping delicata is as simple as de-seeding and slicing it.
The combinations in this meal manage to ignite nearly every kind of taste sensation. The miso curry paste coats the vegetables in a tangy, umami flavor. After time in the oven, the delicata retains its sweetness, the potatoes hover on the edge of crispy, and the tofu almost melts into the dish in a substantial, but not overpowering, way. Before serving and eating the dish, the roasted vegetables are topped with miso-coated kale, which provides not only robust flavor but a raw, crunchy element.
And for all of the variety of flavors and textures, there’s very little prep involved. You can clean up while the vegetables are roasting and then help yourself to a hearty portion.
Miso-Curry Delicata SquashRecipe Source: Super Natural Everyday
- 340 g delicata squash
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white miso
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 225 g extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
- 4 medium potatoes, cut into chunks (unpeeled)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups chopped kale
- 1/3 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/3 cup cilantro (optional if you dislike cilantro like I do)
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and then cut the squash into 1/2 inch half-moons.
- Whisk together the olive oil, miso, and curry paste in a small-medium bowl. Combine the tofu, potatoes, and squash into a large bowl, adding 1/3 cup of the miso-curry paste. Toss the vegetables until they’re coated with the paste and then turn them onto a baking sheet, arranging them in a single layer.
- Roast for 25-35 minutes (check after 25 minutes) until everything is tender and browning. Toss and rotate every 10 minutes or so.
- While the vegetables are roasting, whisk the lemon juice into the remaining miso curry paste. Put the kale in a large bowl and then pour the paste over the kale, tossing until coated.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven and put in a large bowl. Toss with the kale, pepitas, and cilantro. Enjoy!