Let 2012 to be a year of dietary adventure. There is room for old favorites, but the plant world contains so many variations on the familiar, that merely including the vegetables you already love in new forms creates a fresh appreciation for the deliciousness of vegetarian dishes. Color, texture, and flavor are so abundant that if you open yourself to the opportunities in a vegetarian diet, not only will your entire health profile improve, but you’ll send your taste buds reeling.
Here is an easy recipe that includes the delicata variety of winter squash. The skin on the delicata is edible, so no need for peeling. Leaving the skin on creates a prettier dish and boosts the dietary fibre. Buy organic, so there is no chance of ingesting nasty pesticides. A special thank you for the mushrooms to my friend Vickey, who so generously shares her CSA stash each week (you’ll be seeing some amazing watermelon radishes from her in my next blog update!)
- 2 delicata squash
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 cups of chopped mushrooms (baby bellas are nice!)
- 1/2 c chopped white onion
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 1/3 c dry sherry
- 1/4 c fresh chopped parsley (or 1 tbs dried)
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees
Slice the delicata squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and trim the ends. Cut the halves into 1/2 inch slices widthwise. Toss them in 1 tbs olive oil, lightly salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, turning the slices over once half way through. Cooking time may vary based on the size of the squash so check them after about 10 minutes.
The point at which you turn the squash is a good time to start the mushrooms. Put 1 tbs olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft but not browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms with a grind of salt and pepper to taste; cook until they are soft, about another 5 minute. Add the sherry to the pan, the alcohol will evaporate and the mushrooms will take up the flavor. Cook for another 5 minutes. At the end of cooking, add the parsley and mix in.
Arrange the cooked squash atop a generous ladle of mushrooms. This makes a nice main dish to be served with a green salad (serves 2), or could be a side dish (serves 4) if you like. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms with the sweetness of the squash is a beautiful combination. Délicieux!
By the way, this dish pairs nicely with the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay… I’m particularly fond of Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California. If you find yourself in the San Francisco region, it is a great place to visit. Shout out to my friends in the East Bay… it is this time of year, I especially miss my California days! Here’s a shot of my sister & I from a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, circa 2002.