Monday, October 31, 2011

October Culinary Smackdown: Battle Squash

Apparently it was autumn of 2007 when I became obsessed with squash dishes. I know this because I found a motherlode of squash recipes in a subfolder titled Thanksgiving 2007. For this month's Culinary Smackdown, I had in mind to reprise one that ended up being my favorite of everything I cooked that holiday. But there was another I've never forgotten and always wanted to try: Fresh Butternut Squash Salad.

You may be reading this and shaking your head as I did when I first read the recipe. Eating a hard winter vegetable like butternut squash raw? Huh? My usual inclination is to go with roasting squash or turning it into soup.

Guess what happens when you don't cook the heck out of it? If yours is as fresh as the one I got at Hyde Park farmers market last week, it's fragrant and melon-y and very easy to peel into lovely curls for this salad, with prosciutto, parmesan, and nuts. Add a little olive oil and red wine vinegar, and you're good to go. I topped mine with some microgreens I was lucky enough to have on hand. But really, this is dead simple and truly delicious.

This month's host (and last month's winner) for the Culinary Smackdown, Jen of Our Good Food Life, is up with her host post. If you're playing this month, head on over to her place to share a link back to your entry in her comments section. I'm looking forward to a wealth of great ideas from all!

Thanks to Jen for taking on this month's hosting duties. And to all the participants, and onlookers, for supporting this friendly little monthly cooking/blogging competition. As the resident cheerleader for the Smackdown, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to put it on hiatus during the busy months of November and December, then resume in January. Leave a comment here to let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

Oh, man, Eggy, that looks fabulous! And you're right--when I cut my squash open today to bake it, I thought--this smells like a watermelon! I will definitely be trying this one. Go check mine out when you get a chance.

I think a little break for the holidays is a good idea. I know a lot of us will be cooking and sharing, but taking the competition out of it might be a good idea. Maybe the winner of this one can pick a great battle to start 2012 off right.


Stephie said...

Your salad looks so beyond beautiful, tasty, and healthy too!

As for a's for sure not a bad idea.

Buzz Kill said...

This is almost like a butternut squash pasta. I never thought to taste it raw. I have eaten raw pumpkin, but didn't like it much. The saltiness from the procutto probably helped it a lot. Nicely done.

I'm up at the Buzzkill with some soup - and a story.

Jenny said...

Oh, peeling it is a really good way to serve and it looks very unusual. I'm not sure I could go raw with it, but I trust you know what you're saying and doing. :-) Nicely done and Happy Halloween AND Smackdown.

Sharon Rudd said...

Thanks, all, for commenting, and especially for playing along with this month’s Smackdown! Nice to see the turnout, and I love everyone’s recipes.

In addition to those who’ve commented here, don’t miss Cincinnati blogger Jeff from A Dork and His Pork, who’s doing some molecular experimentation with Bacon Squash Caviar.

And La Diva is back with two outstanding entries!

I’m glad I’m not judging this month. Jen’s going to have a toughie on her hands :)

Happy Halloween, and happy Smackdown!

moi said...

Oh, so pretty! Once I get this project under my belt, I'm going to start cooking real food again and this will be on my list.

Happy Culinary Smack Down and Halloween, Eggy!

Jeff said...

What a gorgeous salad - i LOVE the noodle idea. I bet you could even salt-cure the little strips and make them almost-pasta like. HMM.

And thank you for the kind words. I was happy with the soup, failed experiment notwithstanding.

LaDivaCucina said...

Yay, Eggy! I can finally comment! I LOVE this idea but like you and the others thought that it would be icky raw! I think the secret is the fine ribbons, not to thick and like you said, freshness is key! I would actually try this salad! Thanks again for plugging me, I'm hoping that by the time I finish this comment, my service will still be up! I'll get around to all eventually! Cheers!

PS: Yes, my busy season is upon a hiatus might be best!

chickory said...

wow you could win just for going way out of the expected box. I wouldnt think this was good either -but theres a whole lot of veggies i prefer raw to cooked - so why not this? lovely photos too. Good Luck eggy!!!!

Aunty Belle said...

What a gorgeous salat!!

I WILL try it--raw butternut? gonna check that out.

I meant to git mah entry in, but a long Uncle story later, no time left on Halloween night--which is when I meant to cook mah entry. Hate missin' the fun.

haitus fer smackdown--why not--we's gonna be up to our elbows in stuffin' soon, though.

Jen said...

You are so creative. I'm always so impressed by you. I've got the round-up posted and the winner announced on my blog!