As thoughts of yellow summer squash and zucchini turn to winter squash like butternut, the pin striped delicata squash provides a bridge between the seasons and squash spectrum. Like summer squash and zucchini, the eye-catching squash has an edible rind that does not require peeling. Its flavor is closer to that of a butternut squash, often used as the base for a creamy soup, and can be baked and stuffed like a butternut too.
Delicata squash has been in the US since the 1890s, although it wasn’t widely grown until the early 2000s due to its high susceptibility to mildew diseases. Molly Jahn and George Moriarty of Cornell University (NY) developed the Bush Delicata, resistant to mildew and compact in size, making it desirable to both home gardeners and commercial producers. In 2002, the Bush Delicata was named an All-America Selection, a seed industry award, and the highest honor that can be bestowed on a vegetable variety in North America.
An easy entry into trying out delicata squash in the kitchen is a simple roasting of it with onions and thyme. The following recipe, by Adam Hickman, was published in the cooking magazine, Cooking Light, October 2013.
Roasted Red Onions and Delicata Squash
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme*
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 (12 oz) delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded** and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 (1 lb) red onion, cut into 12 wedges
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Place a baking sheet in the oven. Preheat to 475 degrees (leave pan in oven).
Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add squash and onion; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle mixture with ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
Carefully remove preheated pan from the oven; coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange the vegetable mixture in a single layer on pan.
Bake at 475 degrees for 20 minutes or until tender, turning once. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper and chopped parsley.
*If fresh thyme isn’t available, 1 ½ tsp dried thyme can be substituted..
** Save those seeds! Delicata seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds, although baking time will be reduced due to the smaller size of the seeds.