Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grilled Squash w/a Balsamic Glaze

Last week, Huck (of Huck's Kettle Corn) shared his recipe for using "pie pumpkins". Huck likes to slice small pumpkins and sautes them in a hot pan. He simply finishes it with a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. I always enjoy swapping ideas with people, so Thanks Huck!

You KNOW I am going to "Chef" with it..........


Squash: Ambercup, Buttercup, Delicata (on the grill), Sweet Dumpling. Pumpkins: Baby boo (white), Pie pumpkin (orange).


The squash are sliced, seeded and tossed with olive oil and sprinkled liberally with salt and fresh ground pepper. Use a gas or charcoal grill, or a heavy grill pan will also work.


Simmer balsamic vinegar until reduced by half and the syrup should coat a spoon.


I used a variety of squash and pumpkins just to see which were the most flavorful. 
I decided to leave the skins on, so I scrubbed, seeded and sliced each one. Here are my findings: 
*Baby boo (white) pumpkin: a bit hard to slice, grilled nicely, had a mild flavor, the skin was a bit chewy.
* Ambercup (orange) and Buttercup (green): easier to slice, grilled nicely, firm flesh and the skins were tender when grilled.  Both of these were my favorites.
*Delicata- I sliced these first then, scooped out the seeds in the individual circles. This squash has a mild sweet potato taste, grills nicely, firm flesh and the skin is tender. These were my daughter's favorite, she ate them like potato chips.
*Pie Pumpkin-I cut these in wedges, toasted the seeds too!  The pumpkin is a bit tricky on the fist cut, the rest are easier. This variety grills nicely, but it cooks faster (softer) then the others, the flesh is soft and mild, and the skin is very tender.

All the varieties tend to caramelize easily so be careful not to let them burn. Personally, I like dark grill marks on my veggies, but I will leave that call up to you.

                             Grilled Squash w/a Balsamic Glaze
2-3 lbs pumpkins or squash
3 or 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil
Sea or Kosher Salt
fresh ground pepper

1/2 -3/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons honey, agave nectar, real maple syrup

Crumbled Haystack goat cheese, or a nice sheep feta.

Heat grill to high.
Scrub, seed, and slice squash. Place squash in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lower heat on grill to medium and place squash on grill rack. Lower the lid on the grill and wait 5 minutes. Check the veggies, some will cook faster then others, depending on how your grill works. Turn the squash when desired color is reached. The squash should still be "al dente" or slightly firm. Remove squash and toss the veggies in the olive oil still left in the big bowl, adding more oil if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

While veggies are grilling, add balsamic vinegar to a small sauce pan, and simmer on medium heat until liquid is reduced by half. When sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and add honey to taste. reserve for plating.

To Plate: arrange grilled squash on plates or a platter, drizzle with balsamic-honey glaze, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese, and fresh pepper.  I serve this with a nice green salad, or on a bed of sauteed greens.


Chef Deb T