Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Salmon with Mashed Butternut Squash

I spent the past few weeks trying to decide what to do with the two tiny butternut squash from this year's garden.  Then I heard about butternut smash...same idea as mashed potatoes.  Recipe calls for two pounds of squash, and my little guys came in at one pound 13 ounces.

But what to eat with squash mash?  I'm not much of a meal planner, living mostly off one dish meals like pizza.  What makes a proper meal anyway?  Finally it dawned on me that I had salmon in the freezer.  Add some frozen veggies and a glass of wine, and I'd be set.  So after a long day's work, I headed home to make an adult meal.

Ingredients for Butternut Smash
(Heavily adapted from Devin Alexander's The Most Decadent Diet Ever!)
  • 2 pounds butternut squash (or 1 ½ pounds if peeled)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for spraying
Ingredients for Dijon Salmon
  • 2 salmon fillets, 4 oz each
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Oil for spraying


Start by preheating the oven to 400°.  Slice the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. (NOTE: the original recipe, like many butternut squash recipes, instructs you to peel and cube the raw squash!!!  Only do this if you have unlimited time, don't mind ruining your knife, and have a high tolerance for frustration.)

Place the squash on a foil lined baking sheet (skip the foil if you are not lazy and feel like scrubbing the pan) and spray lightly with oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 40 minutes, until soft.

Get the rest of the squash ingredients ready, which in my case is why the recipe is "heavily adapted".  The original calls for basil and Parmesan.  Well, after the first frost of the year, I have no basil left, so I substituted sage.  And darned if I wasn't fresh out of Parmesan and in no mood to make an extra trip to the store. In any case, deal with your specific ingredient substitutions and measure out the two tablespoons of milk and two teaspoons of butter.  Slice the sage, dice the garlic clove.

 Meanwhile, get started on the salmon.  Mix 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon mustard.  The resulting mixture will be very thick.

Pat the salmon fillets with paper towels to dry, and spray lightly with oil.

Meanwhile, back to the squash.  Test with a fork for appropriate softness and pull out of the oven when ready.  Immediately turn on the broiler for the salmon.  Set the squash aside on a plate to cool for a minute.

Set the salmon on the foil lined baking sheet.

Spread the mustard mixture over the salmon.  Tuck them into the broiler for 10 minutes.

 Now back to the squash.  Microwave the milk and butter for 30 seconds.  Mix together and add the sage and garlic.  Peel the skin off the squash--it will slide right off--and chop into coarse pieces.

Use a mixer or potato masher to mash the squash into the butter mixture.  While you're at it, throw some frozen veggies into the micro to round out the meal.

By this time, the salmon will be ready.  Test by poking with a fork; they're ready when the poke makes the fish flake apart.

As I sat down to eat, I thought about a conversation I had with my neighbors this summer about the squash.  They wanted to know if it was worthwhile to grow them.  I said no because they take up a lot of garden space and have a low yield.  Just two tiny squash for all the trouble.

 Never mind that it was a hot summer and I didn't exactly, um, water them.

 But I have to take that back.  The little devils are cute.

 And tasty.

No comments:

Post a Comment