We have recovered ourselves. It helps that is it spring; somehow the fact that the peas and asparagus and rhubarb are up if not anywhere near harvestable makes it okay that we keep eating butternut squash and storage onions and kale. The light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

It also helps to do it up right: to cut the squash into wedges and roast it with red onions in the oven and serve it all with a side of kale and fried eggs and douse everything in a sauce made from lemon and tahini. In other words, it helps to consult the great Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. As usual. 

The recipe in question here is from Jerusalem, a few pages over from the spiced chickpea and summer veggie salad I couldn't stop talking about last week, only more seasonal. I went right by the squash the first time I paged through, but once I got that summer fever out of my system, I started noticing that there were all kinds of excellent (and new and exciting) looking recipes for late winter/early spring dishes in the veggie section too. 

And so I pulled out a lingering butternut squash, pared it down and cut out the seeds, and went through the process of preparing yet another yolk-orange fruit. I did the same for the red-sprouting-green onions, and then I cranked the oven as high as it goes and cooked them down until they were caramelized and slightly burnt. 

The sauce was easy: whisk tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and salt. I skipped the parsley garnish, skipped the topping of toasted pine nuts with za-atar (though it sounded good), and served the squash and onions as they were: piping hot, with thick tahini sauce on top. The next morning we did it all again, only with eggs and kale and toast. 

My advice? Do it both ways, and do it soon. The asparagus and rhubarb will be here soon enough.


This recipe is adapted, or more accurately pared down, from the excellent Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It serves four.

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4" by 2 and 1/2' wedges
2 red onions, cut into 1 and 1/4' wedges
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
4 tablespoons tahini paste
scant 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 large clove garlic, minced

Arrange the squash and red onions on a baking sheet, drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with salt to taste. Toss well and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and have taken on some color. 

Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking together the remaining olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and salt to taste. You want the sauce to be the consistency of honey; if it's too thick, add water, if it's too thin, add more tahini. Serve the veggies hot, drizzled with the sauce. If you don't eat them all in the first sitting, they reheat nicely. 

P.S. (When the rhubarb and asparagus do arrive, I will be ready. Next up the in kitchen: this rhubarb almond cake where you keep the stalks whole for dramatic effect, and some sort of pan seared fish with this fennel and asparagus salad. )


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.