Honestly though, winter squashes are a lot more interesting. From butternut squash layered into lasagna to stuffed Moroccan-style acorn squash halves, winter squash varieties have texture and flavor that keep me entranced through the months when fruit is sparse and I’ve long since tired of finding ways to make chard and other winter greens appealing.
And now I’ve found a way to turn acorn squash into lovely slices that are elegant enough to put on a buffet table, but easy enough to make for weeknight dinners.
The only trick to making these roasted acorn squash slices is cutting them without endangering yourself. If you’re as accident-prone as I am, microwave the trimmed whole squash for a few minutes to soften it slightly before cutting the slices. (Cut off the top and bottom, then microwave the squash for 3-4 minutes on high, then let it rest covered or in the microwave for another few minutes.) You still have to be careful, but it’s a lot easier than trying to halve it in its raw state.
The flavor of the squash shines through, with a slightly sweet honey, maple syrup, and butter glaze. Ground cardamom provides an exotic hint of spiciness, and the pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios offer a crunchy finish.
Even with the microwaving to soften the squash before cutting, the preparation is a simple process – cut the squash, baste it with the glaze, roast it, and when it’s done, top with the pomegranate seeds and toasted, chopped pistachios.
I bought a whole pomegranate and pulled out the seeds; cutting the pomegranate in half, then submerging each half in a bowl of cold water and separating the seeds from the membrane that holds them to the skin. The seeds sink, while any membrane that dislodges will float. It is slightly tedious work, but not time consuming. My only caution is to cover up. Pomegranate juice stains, says the woman who foolishly wore a white t-shirt when seeding this pomegranate – lesson re-learned for the umpteenth time – arghhh!
If you don’t have the time or inclination to seed a pomegranate by hand, the seeds are sold in small packages in the refrigerator section of some produce departments. In my area, Whole Foods and several other grocery stores carry them. If you live in an area with Middle Eastern stores, check there.