Sunday, October 27, 2013

Great News re Winter Squash--You Don't Have to Peel 'Em! Posted by Melinda

OK, everyone knows that the pain-in-the-neck thing about working with winter squash is peeling them, if the recipe calls for that. The other day, I found a wonderful recipe for a roasted Delicata squash salad which stipulated NOT peeling the squash (see recipe, below).
Roasted Squash Salad, 101 Cookbooks (source)--see recipe
But then, that doyenne-wanna-be of all things "good" and "correct," Martha Stewart (!!!), noted in her Nov. 13 issue of MSL mag that "We've been eating our squash skins for a while now. Delicatas started us in that direction, since they're commonly cooked [and eaten] with their skins on, but now we're doing it with lots of other varieties too, like acorn squash...."  That's a huge relief with acorn squash, as their ridges make them almost impossible to peel!  She notes that this non-peeling applies to sweet potatoes, carrots, and even beets!

Meanwhile, Jamie Oliver was way ahead of the curve, as he stated as early as 2008 that in making smooth soups with butternut squash, he always leaves the skins on, then grinds it all together when he blends or food-processes the soup before serving!  See recipe in above post for his Butternut squash soup, which is from the March 2008 Red Hill Root (in which Amy & Chris announced they were leaving, for you old timers!) Obviously it also can be made with Acorn squash, like we have  (

And finally, Mothra Stewart (whoops, that's what we call her around our house!) also said in her Nov. 13 MSL that in roasting squash or pumpkin seeds, YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET ALL THE STRINGY GUNK OFF THE SEEDS!  Woo hoo, I feel liberated! According to her (or her minions), "Roast seeds, flesh and all. Save yourself all the sorting and rinsing usually associated with cooking squash seeds, and roast the whole lot together. The fibrous pulp surrounding the seeds is sweet and nutty, amplifying the flavor of this addictive snack." Here's a link to a quick video of how easy it is to roast squash seeds this way!

Roasted Squash, Chile, and Mozzarella Salad--This calls for "buffalo mozzarella," not always easy to find here. If you can't find it, substitute fresh (not aged) mozzarella that's packed in water--true, real Italians are now throwing up their hands and running from the room!!! (For a fabulous and funny article on trying to produce buffalo [as in 'water buffalo'] mozzarella in the U.S., see
Fresh buffalo mozzarella
(photo source, NYT)

  • 2 medium Delicata squash [or substitute acorn squash], scubbed, sliced lengthwise, and seeded [save those seeds for roasting the easy way]
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
  • 2-3 dried chiles, slivered (not too spicy/hot!)
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • one 8-oz ball of buffalo mozzarella, or something similar [you can find it at TJ's or supermarkets--it's the fresh mozzarella that comes in water]--yes, yes, real Italians would be horrified; but you know, ya gotta bloom where you're planted!
  • 4 cups arugula
  • To serve, slivered scallion, herb flowers (optional), olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 F with rack in the center. Slice the squash crosswise into 1/2-inch crescents. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, chile, thyme, & salt. Arrange on baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-30 min, till tender. Flip squash once to ensure browning on both sides. Transfer the pan to a rack, allow to cool a few minutes, & transfer to a serving bowl or platter. To serve, toss the arugula with the squash & a splash of olive oil. Toss till nicely coated, then pull the mozzarella ball apart, and gently toss it with the squash as well. Adjust seasoning & finish w/ slivered scallions if you like. Serves 4.   (Recipe source)

1 comment:

  1. I never peel winter squash before cooking, but usually scrape the flesh out later. I'll try it without doing that when I make some pumpkin soup tonight. On the other hand, I've never peeled a beet, carrot, or sweet potato, and never understood why anyone would. With the beets, especially, it adds a real earthy quality that I really like (and maybe some people don't?).