After you’ve stuffed winter squash, made soup, and roasted chunks, there are still many more ways to prepare it. A French gratin is one. This simple dish typically features potatoes or another starchy vegetable topped with breadcrumbs, cheese, and butter or cream. The recipe will work with many squashes. Before you bake them, steam the slices, which tremendously cuts oven time and lets you use thicker pieces. With a variety like butternut or crookneck, steam the larger disks for a minute or two longer than the thinner slices that come from the area surrounding the seeds.
|Butter (for the pan)|
|2||butternut, crookneck, or Delicata squash (about 3 pounds), seeded and sliced ¼ inch thick|
|1||tablespoon olive oil|
|1||onion, thinly sliced|
|2||cloves garlic, thinly sliced|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|1||cup heavy cream|
|Pinch of nutmeg|
|1||tablespoon chopped fresh sage|
|½||cup chopped fresh parsley|
|½||cup plus 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs|
|1||cup grated Swiss cheese|
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Butter a 12-inch baking dish.
2. Fit a large pot with a steamer insert and several inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add the squash (do this in two stages, if necessary), cover the pan, and steam for 2 to 4 minutes or until almost tender. Transfer to a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, peel the squash, if you like.
3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Cook onion, garlic, salt, and pepper, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the cream and nutmeg. Bring cream to a boil. Remove from the heat, and stir in sage and parsley.
4. Pour the cream mixture over the squash. Add ½ cup panko and the cheese. Toss gently to coat squash. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons panko.
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the squash is cooked through.
6. Turn on the broiler. Slide the dish about 8 inches from the element and broil for 3 minutes, watching it closely so the topping does not burn, or until golden. Karoline Boehm Goodnick