Delicata squash, a great sweet-tasting, no-fuss winter squash gets star treatment in today’s recipe. Dressed in a beautifully caramelized gown of maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and pomegranate molasses, these dainty rounds are bejeweled with sparkling ruby pomegranate seeds highlighted with a dusting of deep green parsley.
You’ll appreciate how easily you can cut and seed this small, no-need-to-peel, sweet-fleshed squash. A vegetable just made for Thanksgiving and week night dinners, too.
This method for roasting and glazing squash, works as well with other nutrient-rich winter squash such as kuri, kabocha, buttercup or butternut. They all have sweet, dense flesh. Cut them into ¾-1 inch thick wedges, then proceed with the recipe.
This concentrated essence of pomegranate adds a lovely balance of sweet, tangy and tart to the glazed delicata squash. If you, like me, have a bottle of pomegranate molasses in the fridge, you’ll enjoy it in this recipe. Without it, you can reduce pomegranate juice as Alton Brown suggests. Or, just increase the balsamic and maple syrup by a half a tablespoon each.
For years I wouldn’t touch a pomegranate. I had unfortunate childhood memories. I remember struggling to dislodge the red jewel-like seeds from pomegranates fallen on the ground from a neighborhood tree. I struggled so much and got so stained with really tart pomegranate juice that I lost all interest in ever trying them again.
And then we traveled to Egypt a few years ago. Every morning at breakfast there was a never-empty bowl of glistening pomegranate seeds. Oh my, they were delicious. Although he tried each morning, my husband never emptied the bowl. Okay, I thought, if they could outpace Paul and keep that bowl full, there had to be an easy method for releasing the seeds.
How to Seed a Pomegranate
Easy, yes, though, it may still take 15 minutes to free all the seeds from a large pomegranate. You’ll be generously rewarded for your effort with about two cups of tart, flavorful and very nutritious seeds (also known as arils).
- Slice the pomegranate in quarters. Place them in a large bowl of cold water. Let sit 5 minutes.
- With your hands in the water, peel off the skin and connective membrane. Gently release the seeds with your fingers. The skin and membrane will float to the surface. Gather them up with a small strainer and discard.
- The pomegranate seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Drain them through a strainer. Store the seeds in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Makes 5-7 servings
Prep time (including seeding the pomegranate): 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour
2 delicata squash (1½ pounds)
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup (grade B)
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
OR, if you do not have pomegranate molasses, add an additional ½ tablespoon each balsamic vinegar and maple syrup to the glaze in step 3
½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Coarse sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Wash and dry the squash. Cut off the top and bottom of each squash. Slice into ¾-inch thick rounds. Use a sharp paring knife to cut or scrape out the seeds.
- Combine the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium size mixing bowl. Add the squash and toss the rounds with the glaze. Lay the squash in a single layer on the prepared baking pan.
- Roast the squash for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the squash over.
- Stir the pomegranate molasses into the glaze remaining in the bowl. Gently brush each round of squash with the remaining glaze, using all of it. Roast for another 15 minutes.
- Serve the squash sprinkled with finely chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds and a little coarse salt.
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