By Heidi Allison
This dish takes the best of seasonal winter vegetables, Butternut, Acorn and Kabocha squash, and turns them into an entirely new, fusion-style appetizer— Squash Hummus. While using only butternut squash will do, incorporating a variety of squashes not only increases this recipe’s nutritional profile, but, also imparts a more complex, deep and rounded flavor to the finished dish.
Two “on-trend” spice blends, Vandovan and Ras El Hanout, impart an intriguing flavor to these rather bland veggies. Vandovan, which also goes by the moniker of “French curry” or “French masala” , is a more sophisticated, version of its Indian cousin, combining tumeric, curry leaves, fenugreek, cumin, coriander, roasted onion, shallots, chilies and cardamon. Vandovan has a richer, more savory flavor compared to Indian curry. Ras El Hanout is a complex, slightly sweet and savory Moroccan seasoning conventionally used to flavor soups, stews, tangines or couscous. A blend of coriander, cinnamon, cumin, lavender, fennel, pepper cayenne, cloves and cardamon, it’s stellar at flavoring starchy vegetables, like winter squash.
If using yellow squash instead of Karbota, squeeze out extra moisture before incorporating it into the food processor, or the hummus might be a bit thin in its texture. Also, finish the dish with a sprinkling of smoked salt right before serving. Best served at room temperature.
Roasted Squash Hummus
1 Butternut Squash
1 Acorn Squash
1 small Kabocha Squash (or substitute 1 Yellow Zucchini Squash)
1 Sweet Onion (Maui or Vidalia), peeled and separated into pieces
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt, for sprinkling on squash
⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Vadouvan (or Yellow Curry Powder)
1 can White Beans, rinsed and well drained
1 teaspoons Ras El Hanout Spice Blend
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Chives
¼ teaspoon Smoked Salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, and scoop out seeds. Lightly film cut sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with kosher flake salt. Place squash cut side down on a baking pan and cook for 45 minutes, or until flesh is soft and skin is lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Preheat a toaster oven to 375 degrees. Place onions in a bowl and toss with 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with kosher flake salt. Place in oven for 35 minutes, or until onions have caramelized and are brown on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Place squash, onions, white beans, olive oil, salt, Vandovan spice blend into food processor, and pulse until a paste forms. Remove form processor and place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate of several hours until the hummus firms up.
Spoon squash hummus on a serving plate and place crackers on perimeter of squash. Sprinkle Ras El Hanout spice blend over top of hummus and drizzle olive oil over spice blend. Sprinkle chives over top, then the smoked salt and allow to sit for about 20 minutes before serving to allow the all the flavors to come together.