Thursday, September 25, 2008

51. Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach with Toasted Almond Dressing (p. 579)

Well, Fall is here, and for me, that means squash, pumpkins and apples, so expect to see a lot of them over the next few weeks.

The Downtown Manchester Farmer's Market will close soon, but not before the vendors have a chance to offer some great looking butternut squash. This one came from, of all places, Butternut Farm, in Milford, New Hampshire (the farm is named after the tree, though, and not the squash).

This recipe starts with roasting cubed butternut squash. While the squash is in the oven, it's time to make the dressing. Coarsely chopped almonds are cooked in oil over low heat for a while, presumably to toast the almonds and, at the same time, to infuse the oil with almond flavor. If that was the goal, I don't think it was fully achieved. It either needed more heat or more time. The almonds are strained out and reserved, and some lemon juice is whisked into the oil for the dressing. Finally, the squash, almonds and dressing are tossed with raw spinach.

I liked this dish a lot. The squash was excellent. The roasting brought out its caramely sweetness. The cool crispness of the spinach and the crunch of the almonds gave the dish textural interest. The dressing was pretty good, too.

When Teena made this dish, she wasn't a fan of the combination of the lukewarm squash and the raw spinach. This combo didn't bother me at all, but the next day, I had some leftovers and I threw the whole thing in the microwave, and I thought that it was much better hot with the spinach cooked.

Date Cooked: September 13, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A-

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