Monday, November 22, 2010

A Dose of Butternut Squash & Rue Magazine Issue 2!

With visions of turkey, stuffing, green beans and pumpkin pie running through your head just days before the Thanksgiving feast, I thought I'd change things up a bit and infuse your plate with a little butternut squash - one of the most versatile, most nutritious (antioxidant-packed and fiber-rich) and most flavorful standouts of the season.  When the turkey coma is all said and done, here are two bright and warm b-nut squash recipes to bring you back to balance.  Check them out here on the pages ( 86-87) of Rue Magazine's issue #2 that just went live yesterday!  
Wishing you a deliciously healthful and thankful holiday!

Pan Seared Scallops with Brown Butter Sage Sauce, Butternut Squash Puree & Maple-Cider Reduction
Serves 4

butternut squash
1 butternut squash, halved
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
salt to taste
1 head of garlic 

maple-cider reduction
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup apple cider
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 

1 pound medium to large diver scallops
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

brown butter sage sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves

butternut squash
Preheat oven to 375.  Drizzle olive oil over squash, sprinkle with salt and place cut-side down on a baking sheet.  Roast for about 50 minutes, or until flesh is soft.  Meanwhile, drizzle head of garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil and bake about 50 to 60 minutes. 
Remove butternut squash from oven and allow to slightly cool.  Scoop out seeds and discard.  Scoop out remaining flesh.  Cut garlic head in half and squeeze 3 to 4 cloves, adding the puree to the butternut squash.  Blend the garlic and butternut squash well until a smooth puree forms.  
maple-cider reduction
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer about 15-20 minutes to reduce by nearly half.  Drain through a sieve to remove peppercorns.   Return to saucepan and keep warm on low heat. 
Turn oven up to 400.  Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Sear scallops until lightly browned and opaque in the center, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side.
brown butter sage sauce
Add butter and sage leaves to pan over medium-high heat.  Butter will begin to lightly brown after 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.
To serve, spoon a dollop of butternut squash puree in the center of a plate, creating a bed for scallops.  Arrange 3 to 4 scallops per plate atop butternut squash.  Drizzle brown butter sage sauce over top scallops.   Drizzle maple-cider reduction around butternut squash puree.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Lentils, Goat Cheese, Crispy Shallots & Balsamic Reduction
(pictured above)
Makes 4-6 servings

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dried French lentils
4 oz goat cheese (1 small log)
1 shallot, peeled and cut into thin rounds or half-moon shapes
additional extra-virgin olive oil for "frying" the shallots and to coat the salad
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups arugula

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Soak lentils for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, toss butternut squash with olive oil and season lightly with salt.
Spread on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and roast until soft, about 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook lentils in salted, boiling water until soft, about 30 minutes.
Heat balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan on medium-low and reduce to about half, about 10-15 minutes.
Pour about 1 inch worth of olive oil into a small-medium heavy pan or skillet (enough oil to cover shallots). Heat oil over medium-high and fry shallots for 3 to 5 minutes until crispy, golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil on a paper towel.
Mix butternut squash with lentils and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spoon over a bed of arugula in a large serving bowl.  Sprinkle goat cheese over top, garnish with crispy shallot and finish with drizzled balsamic reduction.

Photography: Rima Campbell

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