“Hasselbacked honeynut.” “Honeynut, hasselbacked.” If you were writing a menu for a meal including this dish, it’s gonna sound amazing no matter how you write it. And just look at that honeynut squash!!
If you’re unfamiliar with the honeynut, it’s sort of a little sibling to the butternut. Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns helped create it, encouraging breeder Michael Mazourek to make a smaller, tastier version of butternut. Dry-roasted at high temperatures, they found it has a more concentrated sweetness. Bonus: You can eat the peel. It’s so sweet, in fact, that you may not need much by way of sugar or maple syrup to sweeten up the interior; a lot of heat will do the trick.
Hasselbacking is a technique you may know and love already. We’ve shown you how to use it to great effect on sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. (Also, hello, these cheesy hasselback potatoes!) The idea is that you’re taking the vegetable, positioning it between two dowels or wooden chopsticks, and carefully slicing so as not to cut all the way through. You want to cut about every 1/8″ or 1/4″ inch; try to be consistent for even cooking. Season using olive oil, butter and salt, and you have a crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside potato that looks divine but is totally easy.
The Thanksgiving icebreaker dish of your dreams? Hasselback honeynut squash and apples. It’s precisely as good as it sounds, and yes, there’s sage in there, to boot, completing the quartet of lovely fall flavors. The prep time is just 25 minutes, and you actually hasselback both the butternut squash and the apples during that time. (We’d be lying if we didn’t say we might try to sell this to a kid as “caramel apples.”)
Here’s the full recipe. Happy hasselbacking. Or honeynutting. You know what we mean.
Move over, butternut—there’s a new squash in town called honeynut. Though petite in size, this winter squash packs a lot of flavor. Here it’s cut Hasselback-style, with decorative slices on top, then roasted with Hasselback apples to create an impressive side that’s perfect for autumn meals. To round out the dish, we add browned butter for toastiness, a little honey for sweetness, walnuts for crunch and fresh cheese for creaminess. If you can’t find honeynut squash, swap in their larger cousin, butternut, cutting it into 8 pieces of roughly equal size before making the Hasselback cuts as described below. A soft sheep’s milk cheese can also be substituted for the goat cheese.
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
- 4 honeynut squash (3 to 4 lb./1.5 to 2 kg total), peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 4 small Honeycrisp apples, cored
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) walnut pieces
- Honey for drizzling
- 3 oz. (90 g) soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 10 fried sage leaves (optional)
Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C). Brush a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish lightly with olive oil.
To Hasselback the squash and apples, using a sharp knife, cut each squash half crosswise into 1/8-inch (3-mm) slices, cutting only three-fourths of the way through so they stay intact. Repeat with the apples.
Artfully arrange the squash and apples in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, alternating the direction of the cuts. It’s okay to really pack in the squash and apples and overlap them slightly, as they will shrink a bit during roasting.
In a fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and foamy, about 4 minutes. Do not overbrown because the butter will continue to brown in the oven. Remove from the heat.
Spoon the butter over the squash and apples, carefully opening the cuts so the butter gets in between all the slices. Season with salt and pepper.
Set the fry pan with any remaining butter in it over medium heat and add the walnuts. Toss until lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt.
Roast until the squash and apples are tender and lightly charred and the butter is toasty and browned, about 40 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until the squash and apples turn a shade darker, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the squash and apples from the oven and drizzle lightly with honey. Top with the walnuts, cheese and fried sage leaves and sprinkle with more salt. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.