Saturday, September 13, 2008

Delicious Locavore Delicata Heirloom Squash

I love my veggies cooked simply, especially the heirloom varieties that are becoming more and more available as consumers like them and local farmers take pride in growing them. Today I cooked the Delicata Squash that we got from Chubby Bunny. I had never eaten a Delicata so did some research to learn how to cook it and discover a little more about it.

1 delicata squash
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut in half and remove seeds from squash. Using a pastry brush, paint some olive oil on the bottom of a roasting pan so squash will not stick, then paint the delicata with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven. Cook for 35-45 minutes, until a fork goes pieces the squash all the way through. Serve hot and eat the flesh and the tender skin.

ABOUT THE FOOD Delicata squash has a similar taste to a sweet potato but a little more delicate and less starchy than a potato. Known as the “sweet potato squash” or “Bohemian Squash”, the Delicata is an early season squash typically available in our area in September. According to several sources on the Internet, the delicata is an heirloom introduced by the Peter Henderson Seed Company of New York in 1894 (located on 35 and 37 Courtlandt Street near Trinity Church and other NYC landmarks in lower Manhattan). Henderson was called the “father of horticulture” in the US and published several books on gardening before establishing the seed company.

The skin is quite thin making it unsuited for transport over long distances or storing much beyond 4-6 weeks. For this reason the variety went into relative obscurity from the 1920s until the last decade or so.

Thanks to Chubby Bunny and other great farms, the delicata squash is BACK.

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