Ginger-Maple Baked Delicata Squash
Something about fall and Thanksgiving always makes me think of traditional New England foods (even though New England foods cover all four seasons) -- maybe it's the huge spread at Thanksgiving, complete with roast turkey, squash, turnips, and pumpkin pie. So when a re-jacketed review copy of New England Home Cooking came in the mail a few weeks, it couldn't have been timed better.
I paged through the book, checking out New England favorites, many of which were immediately familiar to me -- like Crispy Fried Ipswich Clams, Thick and Creamy Boston Clam Chowder, Boston Baked Beans Durgin Park Style, Classic New England Boiled Dinner, Polly's Pancake Parlor Cornmeal Buttermilk Pancakes, Classic Parker House Rolls, and Boston Cream Pie.
In addition to these very New England-sounding recipes, the book covers all sorts of recipes with Portuguese, Greek, Italian, Polish, and other influences. Because people from all over arrived in New England bringing their food traditions with them, you'll also find recipes for Athena Diner Avgolemono, Irish Shepherd's Pie, North End Penne with Chicken and Broccoli, Pierogi with Several Fillings, and Hungarian Egg Dumplings.
Along with the recipes, there are stories and anecdotes, and I spent a lot of time reading through the book learning little tidbits about New England. If I hadn't already been convinced, I knew the book was a keeper when I came upon a note titled, "Connecticut: The Pizza State," which proposed that Connecticut (where I grew up) should be re-nicknamed "The Pizza State" based on the acclaim of Pepe's in New Haven and touting the praises of New Haven pizzerias (which I miss very dearly now that I'm in Boston).
After I got over my nostalgia for New Haven pizza, I picked out a recipe to try from the book: Ginger-Maple Baked Delicata Squash. I've often roasted squash with brown sugar and maple syrup or lots of butter and sage, but I've never added ginger, and I was intrigued.
I halved the recipe except for the butter (there's nothing wrong with extra butter) and was so happy with the warm, sweet, spicy outcome.
Ginger-Maple Baked Delicata Squash (adapted from New England Home Cooking)
1 delicata squash
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place cut side up in a baking dish.
Divide butter, maple syrup, and ginger between cavities, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Pour about 1/2 inch of hot water in bottom of dish, and cover squash with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and brush squash flesh with melted filling.
Continue to bake, uncovered, until squash is easily pierced with a fork and tops are lightly glazed, 10 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.
I simply scooped the squash out of its skin and ate it, but if you wanted to plate the squash for serving at, say, Thanksgiving dinner, you could pour the melted filling into a small bowl, slice the squash, plate it, and pour the filling on top. Your guests will love the sweet-spicy contrast between the maple syrup and fresh ginger.
What are your favorite New England foods?