The calendar says October, but still, Indian summer continues to hang around here in Tidewater, no matter how much I am craving chilly nights, and hearty foods. The challenge? Finding ways that incorporate fall favorites that are not too heavy for these still-warm and muggy evenings. That is how I came to find Butternut Squash Fries. Now first I have to say that peeling a butternut squash is a b*@!ch, and if anyone out there has some quick tip that will keep me from feeling that at any moment I might lose an appendage while trying to cut it, I would be eternally grateful, because I love butternut squash. It has a sweet/savory richness and a color that, to me, personifies fall. It can be used in a variety of ways- in pies, rolls, caramelized, roasted, in creamy soups, and now, in a delicious and healthy alternative to french fries.
For those of you who have never bought or made butternut squash, it is nutritionally superior to summer squashes and zucchini. Its deep-orange flesh is richer in complex carbohydrates and beta-carotene and is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, and a good amount of potassium. They are available all year around, with peak season starting in late summer and running through fall and winter. An average butternut squash is between 2-4 pounds and should have a uniform tan color. The rind should be smooth and dry and dull; if the rind is shiny, the squash may have been picked too early, and will not be as sweet as a mature squash.
So if you are ready for butternut squash or are just looking for a healthier substitute for conventional french fries, give these a try. Your taste buds (and your waist) will thank you!
Butternut Squash Fries
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch matchsticks
Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Place squash fries on sheet, not touching, in a single layer. Spray fries with non-stick spray and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes until fries are light brown on the edges and cooked through.
P.S. In looking for information about butternut squash, I found the RJW automated butternut squash peeler. Check it out, it is really cool!