I have this thing for squash. Each season I have one (or three) veggies that I get really excited for, then I binge on them until either I cannot eat it anymore or until I cannot find it anymore. Usually it's the latter. We've had this discussion before.
Artichokes and ramps in the spring, tomatoes and corn in the summer, SQUASH of all varieties from the fall into the winter.
Out of all of the squashes out there, I have a particular love for the smaller varieties that have an edible skin. I like them roasted until caramelized, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Delicata is my all time favorite, followed closely behind by carnival and acorn squash. Sometimes for lunch or for a mid-day snack, I will chop up a squash and roast it with nothing more than olive oil, salt, and pepper, and eat it with my hands ..... like candy. My kind of candy.
One of the things that I love about squash is that it can totally go from a humble, eat-with-your-hands kind of snack food, to a wow-ing side dish or vegetarian main. Add a little crunch and a little drizzle of something, and it not only instantly looks fancy, it tastes fancy too.
You know what makes for a really good crunch? Dukkah. Have you heard of dukkah? Have tried dukkah? Have you made dukkah? If you've answered no to any of those questions, it's time to change that. Dukkah is an egyptian spice blend that you can get super creative with and make at home. It's typically made up of a combination of nuts, spices, and some aromatic seeds, toasted to bring out their flavors, and then blended together with a mortal and pestle or in a spice grinder/food processor. It's like magic fairy dust that transforms veggies or grains ..... I bet it would even be good over ice cream, if you're adventurous like that. But for now, let's just sprinkle this fall-ish hazelnut version over all the squash until the squash is no more.
Roasted squash wedges with hazelnut dukkah + tahini drizzle
SERVES 4-6 as an app or side dish
for the dukkah:
1/2 cup of hazelnuts
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of coriander seeds
2 tablespoons of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of peppercorns
1 teaspoon of sumac (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
for the squash:
2 carnival or acorn squashes, sliced into wedges
extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper
for the tahini drizzle:
2 tablespoons of tahini
2 tablespoons of water
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
a pinch of salt + black pepper
Prepare the homemade dukkah:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º.
- Place the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the hazelnuts are light brown, fragrant, and the skins are starting to come off. Allow them to cool slightly, and then separate the skins by rubbing the hazelnuts with a towel. Place the peeled hazelnuts into a food processor.
- While the hazelnuts are baking, you can toast the seeds. In a cast iron over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds for a couple of minutes until light brown. Keep your eye on them, because this happens very quickly. Remove the sesame seeds and place into the food processor. Then, in the same pan, add the remaining seeds/herbs: coriander, cumin, thyme, fennel, peppercorns, and toast for about two minutes, until fragrant. Add them to the food processor.
- Add the salt and sumac to the food processor, and pluse several times until you have a fine, somewhat evenly textured mix.
Roast the squash:
- Raise the oven temp to 400º.
- Spread the squash wedges out on a baking sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 20 minutes, then flip the wedges and put them back into the oven for another 20 minutes. They should be brown and crispy on the edges.
While the squash is roasting, make the tahini:
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and wish to combine. Taste, and adjust any seasoning as you feel necessary.
Assemble the dish and serve:
- Place the squash wedges on a serving platter. Drizzle with the tahini and generously sprinkle the dukkah to evenly coat the wedges. Enjoy!