Food, Weekly recipe

Acorn squash with sweet spices, lime and green chili pepper

2014/10/14

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty is a beautiful vegetarian cookbook. I received it as a birthday gift last year and it doesn’t disappoint. He always manages to balance the flavours perfectly between sweet, spicy, tangy and salty in every recipe. The vegetables really get to be the true stars.  I LOVE this vibrant and inspiring cookbook, and of course I pre-ordered Plenty More on Amazon (edit 14/10: just received it by mail and astonished by these mouth-watering recipes!). The only downside would be the numerous ingredients you need to buy for one recipe, which can end up as a waste especially when you cook for one. But then, it’s another excuse to invite people to come over to your place and have dinner. I substituted the butternut squash for an acorn squash in this recipe. It’s a very simple yet fresh and light appetizer thanks to the lime and tahini. Again, Ottolenghi hits the nail.

Barely adapted from Plenty
Makes 4-6

Ingredients:

2 limes
sea salt
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium acorn squash
2 tbsp cardamom pods
1 tsp ground Jamaican spice blend
125 ml (1/2 cup) plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp water
1 green chili pepper, finely chopped
160 ml (2/3 cup) cilantro

Preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F). With a small knife, top and tail the limes. Stand each lime on a cutting board and cut down the sides of the lime, following its natural curves to remove the skin and white pith (as I did NOT do properly, forgive my poor skillz). Quarter the limes from top to bottom, then cut each piece into thin slices. Place the limes in a small bowl, sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Stir and set aside.

Cute the squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut each half  into 1 cm thick slices. Slice off the peel,  and place the slices on a baking-sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place the cardamom pods in a mortar pound to get the seeds out of the pods.  Throw away the pods and work the seeds to a rough powder. Transfer to a small bowl, add the ground Jamaican spice blend and the rest of the olive oil. Stir well. Brush spiced oil over the slices of squash. Sprinkle over a little sea salt and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

For the dressing, whisk together the Greek yogurt, tahini, lime juice, water and a pinch of salt. The sauce should be thick but runny enough to pour. If needed, add a little more water.

To serve, arrange the squash on a serving platter and drizzle over the yogurt sauce. Spoon over the lime slices and their juices and scatter the green chili pepper slices over the top. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

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