By J.M. HIRSCH
AP Food Editor
Before spring truly arrives, I wanted to squeeze in just one more recipe for roasted butternut squash.
It’s because roasting does such wonderful things. It caramelizes the natural sugars, making the vegetable deliciously sweet. But at the same time, it’s also deeply savory. And then you have that yin-yang of roasted, crunchy exterior against the creamy, tender interior. But we can’t ignore that spring is here. So to give this staple of hearty winter meals a lighter touch, I topped it with a soft-cooked egg, the yolk oozing over the roasted squash, creating a delicious sauce. Add a simple, Middle Eastern-inspired seasoning blend to tie it all together.
MIDDLE EASTERN ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SOFT-BOILED EGGS
Containers of tzatziki (a garlic-spiked yogurt sauce) can be found next to the hummus at the grocer. Start to finish: 30 minutes. Servings: 4.
3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of ½ lemon
Heat the oven to 425 F.
Mound the squash on a rimmed baking sheet, then drizzle it with the olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Use your hands to mix the squash until well coated. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned and tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the eggs and seasoning blend.
Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Set the pan over medium heat. Bring the water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water. Cool until easily handled, but not cold, about 5 minutes.
To make the seasoning blend, in a small, dry skillet over low heat, combine the peppercorns with the sesame, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Toast, stirring, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and let cool. Once cool, grind until fine. Mix in the salt and lemon zest. Set aside.
Once the squash has roasted, divide it between 4 serving plates. Carefully peel the eggs and set one in the center of each serving. Sprinkle the squash and egg with the seasoning blend. Accompany with tzatziki on the side of the plate. Use a fork to break the white of each egg and allow the yolk to spill onto the squash just before serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 310 calories; 110 calories from fat (35 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 180 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 11 g protein; 570 mg sodium.