Honeynut Squash Confit: A Piece of Cake #43
A holiday side you'll want to make again as a weeknight main.
Welcome to the second of three Thanksgiving recipes I’m releasing this week. Today, it’s my new favorite fall side. And tomorrow, my favorite apple pie recipe.
I wrote yesterday that, after years of entertaining, I’ve made a point to enjoy myself when I’m hosting a dinner, in addition to putting out a fabulous meal. This recipe is peak that.
Like many of my favorite recipes, this simple squash preparation was born out of cooking for a few friends. I often try to put off cooking the first squash of the year—once that starts, we’re stuck buying apples, winter squash, and overwintered radishes until spring. But this September, when the first little Honeynut squash popped up at the Greenmarket, I couldn’t resist bringing a few home. It was still 80 degrees here in NYC at the time, so I cooked those little squash before dinner and served them room temp with an herby sauce. I’ve made this multiple times in the two months since. And in that time, I’ve realized it's not only a weeknight go-to, it’s also the perfect make-ahead squash side for this year’s Thanksgiving.
Is this really a confit? We could argue semantics, but “confit” sure sounds better than “oil roasted.” The squash is halved and cooked in olive oil, smoked paprika, thyme, and enough garlic to kill a Pilgrim. Then that flavorful oil is buzzed with fresh mint, parsley, and lemon. You end up with a fresh, toasty condiment that you'll want to put on more than just the squash. I’ve poured the leftover green sauce on eggs, drizzled it over my turkey noodle soup, and mixed a little into mayo for a turkey sandwich. It just might be the superior condiment on your Thanksgiving table this year. Set the green sauce out next to the gravy and see what kind of people you’ve invited over for dinner.
In terms of what you can make ahead, the squash and sauce can totally be made the day before. You can serve the squash hot from the oven or room temperature; it’s up to you! You can either pull the squash from the fridge while you’re finishing dinner to let it come up, or wrap the pan in foil and pop it in the oven for a bit to take the chill off. I really love the make-ahead aspect of this recipe. Anything you can have ready before the guests arrive will make you a less-stressed, all-around better host.