Chilled Sweet Butternut Squash Salad with Cinnamon

In September I wrote a book review of Morocco: A Culinary Journey for Pen & Fork. The accompanying recipe might peak your interest and brighten a winter lunch. — Linda Avery

Chilled Sweet Butternut Squash Salad with Cinnamon

Serves 4

This chilled, cooked salad goes particularly well with grilled meats, especially Grilled Spicy Kefta Brochettes and Grilled Marinated Chicken Brochettes. When cleaning the squash, be sure to scrape away all the stringy fibers and, when cutting, try to keep the cubes about the same size to ensure even cooking.

Photo by Jeff Koehler

2 pounds (910 g) butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, or another firm-fleshed, hardskinned squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup (60 g) sugar
2 pinches salt
1/2 teaspoon orange flower water or rose water
Ground cinnamon for dusting
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
4 thin orange slices, halved, for garnishing

1. Cut the rind from the squash with a heavy, sharp knife, and scoop out the seeds. Cut the flesh into 1/2- to 3/4-inch (12-mm to 2-cm) cubes.

2. In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash, sugar, and salt and cook, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the orange flower water, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the squash is tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

4. Just before serving, lightly dust with cinnamon, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and garnish with the orange slices.

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