Thin skin makes delicata squash a winter winner

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch

My zucchini plants finally gave up the ghost. They had a good — but short — run. Before I could mourn too much, I was gifted four delicata squash.

Cream-colored, with vertical dark green stripes, delicata has zucchini beat hands-down in the looks department.

Delicata is considered a winter squash. Winter squashes differ from the summer varieties in that they are sweeter, denser and firmer in texture. Harvested in the fall, these hardy squash will keep well through the winter months.

Like all winter squash, delicata is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s a good source of potassium and dietary fiber, and it contains magnesium, manganese, and vitamins C and B.

Delicata is also extremely versatile. It can be stuffed and baked, or it can be steamed, roasted, microwaved or sautéed. Its real claim to fame, though, is connected to its name. The delicacy in the squash refers to its skin, which can be eaten. No peeling required.

Delicata is a relatively small squash, so you won’t need a hatchet to cut it. If you love the taste of butternut squash but are daunted by the task of removing the skin, delicata might become your new favorite winter squash.

Below is a simple recipe for preparing delicata squash. The slices are first roasted and then topped with a miso and maple syrup butter glaze. If you don’t have any maple syrup, you can substitute honey. Miso, a fermented soybean paste, adds an umami boost that complements the sweetness of the maple syrup. Miso is sold in all major supermarkets, and it lasts virtually forever.

Thin-skinned delicata squash is roasted before being coated in a sweet, rich glaze of miso, maple syrup and butter.

Roasted Delicata

  • 2 delicata squashes halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ½-inch thick pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A few grindings of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 scallion finely sliced, for garnish
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl, add the sliced squash along with the salt and pepper. Toss with the oil to coat. Spread the squash in a single layer on a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning once halfway through, until lightly golden on both sides.

In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk together the miso, maple syrup and butter. Brush one side of the roasted squash with the miso-butter mixture and roast for another 10 minutes until the squash is glazed and brown. If you have any leftover glaze, you can drizzle it over the warm squash once it’s out of the oven.

Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at julietrulie11@gmail.com.