Sweet Potato Fry-lovers will Devour These Buttercup Squash Fries

 

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I’m always trying to think up new ways to eat squash at this time of year, and I thought this one was worthy of sharing with you all. I first tried these fries with butternut squash but was disappointed with the results. Butternut can be on the watery side and they just didn’t have the right texture. I wanted a fry that was a little more meaty so I opted for buttercup squash which has more of a rich and dense texture and is also sweeter, reminiscent of sweet potatoes which make my all-time favorite fries.

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I was pleased to find that buttercup squash fries are very similar in taste and texture to sweet potato fries. (I have a hunch delicata squash would make an equally lovely fry, though I haven’t tried it yet).

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Once they were done, all they needed was a little dipping sauce and because sage and squash are a bit of a match made in heaven, I threw some fresh chopped sage into a homemade aioli and BAM, found a brand new way to serve up squash at the Thanksgiving (or any) table!

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This recipe is relatively simple and you can make it either using the light cornmeal coating specified in the instructions below or just with plain olive oil and salt, it’s up to you. Both are delicious. Best of all, these fries are baked in the oven, which is good news for your arteries and doesn’t involve hot frying oil. I do have one disclaimer though: cutting up a whole squash into fry-sized pieces is fairly time consuming, the timelapse in my video might make it seem quick and easy but I actually wrestled with those squashes for quite some time. So just set aside a good chunk of time for the squash-wrestling, at least 30 to 45 minutes – put on your favorite tunes, and go to it! (I’ve also figured out a little trick to speed things up which I’ll share with you in the recipe below).

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If you’re looking for other squash recipes in anticipation of Thanksgiving, here are some of my long-time favorites which I’ve previously posted: Roasted Squash Cornbread, Delicata Squash and Sage Biscuits, and Squash and Maple Tarte Tatin.

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I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones. May there be a spirit of gratitude and giving of thanks around your table, and may it be a time to listen to each other with both head and heart during this challenging political climate which has been so divisive.

Buttercup Squash Fries with Sage Aioli

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These buttercup squash fries are very similar in taste and texture to sweet potato fries.

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Ingredients

  • Buttercup Squash Fries
  • 1 medium-sized buttercup squash (about 3 to 4 pounds)
  • About 3 Tbsp. olive oil (add 1 Tbsp for greasing pan if you aren’t using parchment paper)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional coating for the fries
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp cornmeal
  • Sage Aioli
  • 1 raw egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup mild olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic (more or less depending on your taste)
  • 6 to 8 fresh sage leaves chopped very finely

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. Slice the squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and stringy flesh. Next, you can either peel the two squash halves using a potato peeler, but I found it was less time-consuming to initially leave the skin on and begin by slicing the squash into fry-sized pieces and then cut away or peel the skins off. I found that a slightly thicker fry yielded best results. Somewhere between a half to three quarters of an inch thick.
  3. Next place all the french fry sticks in a bowl and toss with about 3 Tbsp of olive oil (start with 2 Tbsp, and add more as needed to cover all fries and make them nice and slippery but not dripping with oil). If using the coating, mix the cornstarch, cornmeal, and salt together in a little bowl. Sprinkle this mixture over the oiled fries and toss gently to coat all the fries. (If you prefer to opt out of the coating, simply sprinkle the salt on the fries and toss).
  4. Lay down the fries on either a parchment-lined baking sheet or an oiled on (about 1 Tbsp. olive oil is plenty to oil the pan). (I recommend using parchment paper because the fries will bake more evenly and be less prone to burning). Be sure the fries are spread out and not touching or overlapping. If you need to, use a second pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Check the fries and if they are getting nicely browned underneath, flip them over (very delicately so they don’t get mashed) and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed. Remove from the oven and serve hot!
  6. To make the aioli, be sure your egg yolk is at room temperature. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt in with the egg yolk. Very very slowly, pour in a tiny stream of olive oil while whisking vigorously. Continue until the mixture thickens significantly and both oils are used up. Whisk in the crushed garlic and chopped sage and voila! Be sure to refrigerate your aioli if not using right away because it has raw egg yolk in it.

Tips/Techniques

As a serving suggestion, place the fries in little paper cones with your guests’ names written on them and little dipping bowls with the aioli. Enjoy

Aube Giroux is a food writer and filmmaker who shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog, Kitchen Vignettes.

Aube is a passionate organic gardener and home cook who likes to share the stories of how food gets to our dinner plates. Her work has been shown on television and at international film festivals. Her web series has been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards for Best Video Webcast (On Location). In 2012, she was the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog award in the video category.