Hasselback Everything!

I’ve done some posts about how much fun (and work) it is to make hasselback potatoes and sweet potatoes. I found a terrific sounding recipe for hasselback butternut squash with a maple/fresno chile sauce that sent me off to the store for a squash and some chiles.  I served it with grilled chicken leg quarters. This recipe may become this year’s Thanksgiving surprise at the family gathering.

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Hasselback Butternut Squash with Fresno Chile Sauce and Bay Leaves. I left the stem on for the fun of it. The basting sauce has maple syrup and apple cider vinegar in to for a bit of sweet bite enhanced by the hit of bay infused during baking. This recipe is a keeper.

Hasselback Butternut Squash With Fresno Chile Glaze and Bay Leaves

 For this holiday-worthy recipe, roasting the butternut with several bay leaves slipped between the slices results in a subtle aromatic backdrop for the chile glaze.

INGREDIENTS

SERVINGS: 8

  • 1 large butternut squash or 2–3 small honeynut squash (about 3 pounds total)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 6–8 dried bay leaves

METHOD

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a large spoon. Using a peeler, remove skin and white flesh below (you should reach the deep orange flesh). Rub all over with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast in a baking dish just large enough to hold halves side by side until beginning to soften (a paring knife should easily slip in only about ¼”), 15–18 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring chile, maple syrup, butter, and vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally and removing chile as soon as desired heat level is reached (set aside for serving), until just thick enough to coat spoon, 6–8 minutes. Reduce heat to very low and keep glaze warm. Transfer squash to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Using a sharp knife, score rounded sides of squash halves crosswise, going as deep as possible but withoutcutting all the way through. Return squash to baking dish, scored sides up, and tuck bay leaves between a few of the slices; season with salt and pepper. Roast squash, basting with glaze every 10 minutes or so and using pastry brush to lift off any glaze in dish that is browning too much, until tender and glaze forms a rich brown coating, 45–60 minutes. Serve topped with reserved chiles.

Do Ahead: Squash can be roasted 4 hours ahead. Let cool until just warm; cover and store at room temperature. Reheat before serving.

HINTS

I used a freshly sharpened slicing knife because it helped me make thinner slices than my chef’s knife slightly thicker blade.  I placed a half of squash on the cutting board at a time and put the round handles of wooden spoons on either side of the squash My knife went as deep as the spoon handle and I didn’t cut all the way through the squash. I used a very small squash to make just two servings, but made a full recipe of the glaze. I was able to manage moving the cut squash early with a long bladed spatula.

 

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