Saffron and Rosemary Squash Rings
Roasted Delicata Squash with Rosemary and Saffron Dressing
Delicata squash couldn’t be found in my garden or pantry more than a decade ago. That’s because I hadn’t even heard of this incredible little gem of a winter squash. I’m not alone. In fact, I was among the early adopters of this particular varietal.
Delicata isn’t new by any means, though–quite the opposite. It is an heirloom variety that disappeared early in the 20th century because it is prone to disease but in the early 2000’s, that trait was bred out of it and it began showing up in seed catalogs and at farmer’s markets. Now it’s more mainstream and I can’t imagine a holiday meal without it!
I don’t reserve delicata squash for holidays, though. I keep it on regular rotation on my menu for several reasons. It is absolutely delicious, capturing that phenomenal sweet/savory harmony on its own, even before other ingredients are added (though, like anything, the right culinary treatment can enhance those flavors). It’s one of the few types of squash I don’t have to peel, and the skin contributes a wonderful texture when roasted. It can be cut into rings and eating food shaped like rings is just more fun!
This roasted squash is definitely a crowd-pleaser and not only because of the aforementioned enjoyment triggered by devouring food shaped like rings. The blend of saffron and rosemary is such an elegant flavor combination. It plays beautifully with the sweetness of the squash and leaves the tastebuds thoroughly satisfied.
Roasted Squash Rings with Fragrant Rosemary Saffron Dressing
- 2 Delicata squash
- ¼ bunch rosemary, chopped finely (about 2 tablespoons when chopped)
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for roasting
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375℉.
- Mix together the saffron, rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and honey. Set aside.
- Cut the ends off of the delicata squash. Use a thin spoon or butter knife to scrape the seeds from the squash. You may find it easier to gut the squash if you cut it in half on the cross-section (ensuring you can still make rings).
- Once you have removed the seeds, cut the squash into rings about ½” thick.
- Coat the squash rings in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Stir or shake your saffron dressing and toss the squash rings to dress.
Serve warm or at room temperature. This dish is excellent alongside roasted meats. I especially like it paired with poultry, lamb, or pork. I’ve also been known to place a few rings on a winter salad to up the level of sweetness and add a surprising textural element.
This recipe for roasted squash rings calls for quality saffron. I used saffron from Afghanistan. You can find these all-red filaments here.
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