Merrill's baby Clara has quite the appetite -- and it's all Merrill can do to keep up. Armed with her greenmarket bag, a wooden spoon and a minimal amount of fuss, she steps into the fray.
Today: Merrill turns one of fall's stalwarts into a crunchy snack for Clara.
Like both her mother and her father, Clara loves crunchy things -- particular chips of any kind. I'm okay with her eating store-bought potato chips every once in a while (and yes, I've shamelessly expoited them as a distraction in airports, on long car trips, or when grocery shopping), but not by the bagful.
So I decided to take a technique I learned from Rivka and recently used to make apple chips and apply it to other produce to see what I could come up with. It's fall, so like everyone else we usually have at least one butternut squash lying around. I ended up with a really adorable mini one the other week, and instead of cutting it into cubes and roasting it or folding it into risotto, I decided to slice it up and make butternut squash chips.
Scouring my herb box, which is on the verge of heading into hibernation for the winter, I came up with a few hardy sprigs of oregano, thyme and sage that had yet to succumb to the cold. I finely chopped the leaves and tossed paper thin slices of butternut squash with the herbs, a healthy splash of olive oil and plenty of kosher salt. Then I spread them out on cookie sheets and baked them low and slow for a couple of hours before turning off the oven and leaving them in there overnight to cool and crisp further.
The next morning when I tried them for the first time, the squash chips were crisp and salty and also slightly sweet -- but it was the aromatic herbs that kept us all coming back from more. Move over potato, there's a new chip in town.
Makes about 2 cups
1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound
2 teaspoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (I used sage, thyme and oregano)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Photos by James Ransom