Friday, January 26, 2018

Smashing Squash Into Toast!

No question, this squash is smashed, but doing it really brings the flavor.  Susie Middleton, who wrote the cookbook Simple Green Suppers, stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about her Butternut Cranberry Citrus toast, which she says, makes either an excellent appetizer or even a main course. Susie told Tonia the smash we talked about happens as you mash the squash up to make the toast, and she describes that approach as flavor from the bottom-up.  Give this toast a try!

Makes 2 or 3 toasts

2 cups small-diced, peeled butternut squash (about 9 ounces)

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt

3 tablespoons Cranberry-Citrus Herb Butter (recipe follows), at

room temperature

2 large shallots, peeled and cut into thin slices (optional)

2 or 3 slices of whole wheat boule or other peasant bread (each

about 6 inches long)

2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans, toasted pepitas, or Rosemary
Roasted Walnuts

1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the squash with a scant 2 tablespoons of the oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake, flipping with a metal spatula halfway through cooking, for 26 to 28 minutes, until nicely browned and tender.

2. Immediately transfer the squash to a medium saucepan over

low heat and add 4 to 5 teaspoons of the cranberry butter. Toss and stir, then use a handheld masher to gently mash the roasted squash and butter

until it roughly holds together. (Some hunks of squash will remain.)

Remove the pan from the heat and

cover to keep warm if making ahead, or keep the pan on low heat for a few minutes, stirring, if waiting until the toast is done.

3. Cook the shallots (if using): Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a small (8-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a paper-towel-lined plate.

4. Preheat an oven broiler or the broiler in a toaster oven.Brush the bread slices with a small bit of oil on one side and sprinkle with salt. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet. Broil until golden brown on the top side, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the slices over, and dot or brush the top of each slice with 1 teaspoon of the cranberry butter. Broil until the top side is lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

5. Using a small spatula or spreading knife, spread the warm squash mixture evenly on the pieces of toast. Top with the shallots (if using) and toasted nuts. Serve right away.

Cranberry-Citrus Herb Butter

Makes about ⅓ cup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature or slightly softer

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons very finely chopped cranberries

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon seeded and minced fresh jalapeño

Put the butter in a small bowl. Add the salt and orange and lemon zest. Mash and stir the butter using a small silicone spatula or the back of a spoon. Add the cranberries,thyme, and jalapeño, and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth. Pack into a small bowl, crock, or refrigerator container and cover tightly.

Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 2 months. Bring to room temperature before using.

From Simple Green Suppers by Susie Middleton © 2017 by Susie Middleton. Photographs © 2017 by Randi Baird. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc.