Olivia Piepmeier

Squash Toast

Categories: main veggies
A watercolor illustration of squash toast from above with "squash toast" written in cursive below said toast. It looks like a piece of sandwich bread that's darker on the top. Next is a layer of white (the cheese) and different colors of orange and brown for the squash. There are bits of green for the mint on top of that.

inspired by New York Times Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1-3 pounds of winter squash (I’ve done butternut, honey nut, and kabocha), peeled, seeded and cut into pieces 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • red chile flakes, to preference
  • salt, to preference
  • onion(s), to preference, peeled and thinly sliced (I’ve done two small ones, one medium, or one big one. I guess you could do this to complement how much squash you’re doing?)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • toasted bread (work with what you have, but try to avoid a very enriched white sandwich bread. It needs to be sturdy to stand up to the cheese and squash! A crusty sourdough or a hearty sourdough sandwich are my go-tos)
  • some tart spreadable cheese (I usually use mascarpone but cream cheese or goat cheese would be good. The original recipe suggests ricotta or feta as well, but I’m not convinced)
  • chopped fresh mint, to preference (fresh sage or rosemary would also work)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Combine the squash, oil, red pepper flakes, and salt in a roasting pan.
  3. Cook until tender and slightly toasty, 15-20 minutes or more depending on how much squash you have.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan.
  5. Add the onions and some salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are getting caramelized, at least 15 minutes. You’ll probably need to turn the temperature down to low at some point as to not burn them.
  6. Add the vinegar and syrup, stir and reduce until syrupy and broken down, again at least 15 minutes or so; the mixture should be jammy.
  7. This is a great time to get your bread toasty!
  8. Combine squash and onions in a bowl (or the roasting pan if it’s big enough) and smash with a fork until combined. Taste for seasoning.
  9. Assemble on the toasts! Cheese -> Squash mix -> Mint -> Salt

Thoughts

I bid you a hearty welcome to the season of “thing on toast!” Honestly, I think some of our most loved recipes are some form of “thing on toast.” This category of meals are not necessarily seasonal - egg and toast, sardines and toast, avocado toast - these are year round (though I can’t remember the last time I had avocado toast…). But we tend to rely on a few “thing on toast” recipes in cooler months. It’s probably due to a desire for warmth, this one in particular uses a seasonal ingredient, but also they tend to be very pantry friendly when all that’s in the farm stands are the storage crops compared to the abundance of summer produce.

This recipe is truly delicious. The toasty smashy squash is the vehicle for the little bit of onion jam, that’s complimented by the tart cheese and the bright fresh herbs…all (hopefully) held up by some hearty toast. One of the big adaptions for me on this recipe is the amount of squash. You’re going to be happier if you have more, but if you only have a little, you can still make it and have a nice meal. Someone in the NYTCooking comments mention it as an appetizer for a party. I can totally see that but also….it’s dinner. A dinner we groan over about how good it is.