I don't know if it was because winter is coming to a close, but the butternut squash choices were all huge when I was shopping for ingredients for this recipe. I could have chosen a different type of a winter squash that would provide me with a normal portion. But I was intent on following the recipe for roasted butternut squash with sweet spices, lime and green chile, as written.
Next time, I will be more flexible. I wonder what makes us dig in our heels, or draw that line in the sand. Fear? Just plain being tired?
In this case of squash shopping inflexibility, the result was that I had more squash than I could ever have used after it was freshly cooked. Though I gave it a gallant effort. I would cut up the extra squash and add it to soups and salads. However, more rigidity. Sadly I did not try to give any away, nor did I freeze any while I had the chance.
Perhaps it is hitting the wall of winter. Snow again, even though it is March. As one of my instructors at the Y recently said after returning to teach an adult ballet class since being out with the flu, , "I am so over this winter." But spring is on its way. This weekend we reset the clocks for daylight savings time. March 20th is the Vernal Equinox! Hooray!
The size of the squash I was going to use for this recipe of roasted butternut squash with sweet spices, lime and green chile, made me think of the giants in "Game of Thrones."
I had never watched "Game of Thrones," but had the bright idea of starting from the beginning in anticipation of the last season. Despite all of the violence and sadism, the show, with al its threads, is compelling. Who does not love the characters, Ayra, Tyrion, Lord Varys, Bronn, John Snow, Samwell, Ygritte, Jaime, or Brienne. The visuals of exotic landscapes, magical realism, flying dragons, various tribes and societies and their values, the ice wall, the powers of wargs, make for a delightful escape.
In any event, the thought of carving up such a large squash was daunting, and it sat in my vegetable bin for quite some time. My latest technique is to very carefully pierce the squash with the tip of a chefs knife and slice down from there. It helps to break the squash up into smaller sections, until you get to a place where you are cutting the pieces to be used in the recipe.
Back to roasted butternut squash with sweet spices, lime and green chile.
I often roast winter squashes. They caramelize in the oven and are deliciously sweet. But when you want something more, with layers of flavor, and some eye appeal as well, try this recipe for roasted butternut squash with sweet spices, lime and green chile. The light green of the fan shaped pieces of lime decorating the squash that is topped with a tahini and yogurt dressing are enticing. The small circles of green chile add some crunch and heat. The tahini and yogurt dressing blends in to soothe your mouth from that heat, and adds layers of flavors to each bite of butternut squash. Try this recipe, and enjoy!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime and Green Chile
Choose a smaller squash for a family meal, or a giant squash and serve on a platter at a dinner party.
- 2 limes
- malden sea salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
- 2 tbsp cardamom pods
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2-½ tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 green chile, thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup picked cilantro leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Trim off the limes' tops and bases using a small sharp knife. Stand each lime on a chopping board and cut down the sides of the fruit, following its natural curves, to remove the skin and white pith. Quarter the limes from top to bottom, and cut each quarter into thin slices, about ⅛ inch thick. Place them in a small bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stir and set aside.
Next, cut the squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut each half, top to bottom, into ⅜-inch-thick slices and lay them out on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place the cardamom pods in a mortar and work with a pestle to get the seeds out of the pods. Discard the pods and work the seeds to a rough powder. (Note, I used ground cardamom). Transfer to a small bowl;, add the allspice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, stir well and brush this mixture over the butternut slices. Sprinkle over a little salt and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until tender when tested with the point of a knife. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Peel off the skin, or leave on if you prefer (or peel before baking).
Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. The sauce should be thick but runny enough to pour; add more water if necessary.
To serve, arrange the cooled butternut slices on a serving platter and drizzle with the yogurt sauce. Spoon over the lime slices and their juices and scatter the chile slices over the top. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.