Iwas introduced to the butternut squash by a friend and I have used it consistently in the restaurant since we opened 15 years ago. It is classed as a fruit but mainly used as a vegetable where the sweet and nutty flavour has many uses.
As the squash ripens the flesh turns a deeper orange with concentrated rich sweet flavours. Most are turned into a silky soup but they are beautiful roasted as part of Sunday lunch.
It makes a great purée which you could pair with game and sauté wild mushrooms. At the moment I’m roasting small cubes and serving it with a little purée lightly flavoured with vanilla, with baked bream and sea purslane.
At times I’m left with the bulb end with all the seeds. You can turn this into a light healthy lunch or a starter. I use toasted almonds to enhance the nutty flavour, salty feta, pomegranate seeds and juice, and salad leaves. The combination is fabulous. The seeds are edible and could be used instead of the almonds.
Ingredients (Serves four as a starter)
1 bulb end butternut squash
30g flaked almonds
1. Peel and de-seed the squash bulb.
2. Slice the squash into half-cm slices.
3. Place a piece of greaseproof paper on a baking tray and put the sliced squash onto this. Sprinkle with a little water, sea salt and olive oil. Cover with another sheet of paper.
4. Roast in a medium oven 170c/gas 4 for 12 minutes.
A knife will go through the flesh if it is cooked. If not, return to the oven for two minutes. Allow to cool.
5. While the squash is cooking, roast the almonds for 10 minutes turning after five minutes until golden brown.
6. Pick out the pomegranate seeds and crumble the feta.
7. Arrange the squash on four plates and top with the leaves, feta and almonds.
8. Place the pomegranate over the salad and spoon some juice over as well.
9. Sprinkle a little olive oil over each plate and serve.
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377914.