In the past few weeks, I saw that a reader from Austin, Texas spent a considerable amount of time on the site, most likely reading my post on Mexican/Syrian-Jewish style brisked in response to a query looking for "mexican brisket." I hope that this reader tried this recipe and was not disappointed, since, although I am very proud of it, it is not a typical Mexican dish. I have also noticed, for example, that someone, or some people from Glasgow, Scotland visit my blog with some regularity. They must be disappointed that I haven't posted anything new for over three weeks. At least I hope that they are.
I have lots of reasons. Life got busy. Cooking got monotonous in an effort to fight the Thanksgiving to New Year bulge. Most importantly, I have found myself cooking from recipes already on the blog or using cookbook recipes and not modifying them enough to make them worth posting. (If I substitute short ribs for lamb shanks in a stew with quince, chestnuts and pomegranate juice, add some Indian spices, etc., should I really bother posting?) One new dish that I did make was a room temperature appetizer of pan-roasted winter squash with tahini. I used to a be a confirmed squash hater, and the one day a number of years ago I made a spicy Bengali squash dish with chili, mustard seeds, and coconut from Bharti Kirchner's (tragically out-of-print) The Healthy Cuisine of India: Recipes from the Bengal Region, and I was a convert. It was a revelation when the squash wasn't drowned in maple syrup or brown sugar.
So, for my Glaswegian readers, and anyone else waiting on the other end of the ether for a recipe, here is;
Winter squash with tahini
- 2 cups winter squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I like butternut, red kuri, or kabocha here)
- olive oil
- sugar if needed
- tahini sauce: 1/4 cup tahini, 1 clove garlic, coarse salt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, up to about 1/4 cup water
- handful chopped flat leaf parsley, to taste
- Heat olive oil, a spoon or so, in medium nonstick skillet, on medium heat. Add squash cubes and salt lightly.
- Cook on medium-high heat, tossing or stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and well caramelized. If it doesn't have a nice, rich taste, sprinkle a little sugar on it, less than a teaspoon, toward the end of cooking. Remove to a bowl when done.
- Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce: Make the tahini sauce: smash the garlic with coarse salt to make a puree, and stir in the tahini. Stir in the lemon juice. The tahini will become very stiff. Dribble in the water, a few drops at the time. The sauce will stiffen some more, and then loosen to the texture of a thick cream. It is hard to tell exactly how much water you will use, but it is usually approximately equal to the amount of tahini, or a little more. The sauce should be on the thicker side, but still pourable.
- Pour the sauce over the squash. Mix in parsley when cool.
- Serve with warm pita bread.