Are you a squash hater? Please don’t be. Squash get a bad rap among carnivores for being a lame substitute for meat; it gets boiled, mashed, sugared, buttered, and baked into squash soufflÃ©, yet so many people refuse to eat it as is. Well, if butternut and acorn and spaghetti squashes don’t do it for you, delicata is a wonderful last resort. It has a thinner flesh than other squash varieties, and the inside has a crevice running the length of the squash (as opposed to the small crevice at only one end of a butternut) that can be filled with all sorts of deliciousness. As for the flavor, it’s simply remarkable. Delicata is buttery, nutty, and smooth.
My dad gets all the credit here; he introduced delicata squash to our family, and I’m pretty sure it was an instant hit. I find it’s best prepared simply: my preference is to bake it plain, as my mom does and drizzle a lemon-garlic butter over top just before eating.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put squash halves, flesh-side down, in a pyrex or other baking pan.
Add water to the pan until 1/2 and inch of the squash is submerged.
Bake squash for half an hour, or until flesh is soft and a fork goes right through.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan. When it starts to sizzle, add garlic. Toast until garlic just starts to turn brown, and then remove from heat. Garlic will continue to toast.
When squash are ready, flip right-side up onto plates; drizzle with garlic butter, and finish with a squeeze of lemon.