Or maybe it was just a phase, a fractious rebellion born against full-on sandwiches and meals requiring actual utensils. But we are reasonable people: We will allow this column one more toast yet.
The inspiration for this one comes from Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen in New York, whose recipe for squash on toast has been circling the internet for some time now. Consider this an homage. Consider it also a defiant statement that food on toast carries its weight well into fall: We don’t need raw tomato tartines to be happy.
Remind yourself of this fact while you break down one of fall's first butternuts. Cook it on the stove a la Amanda if you, like me, are currently living with a broken oven; roast it if you have a functional kitchen. Turn an onion into sweet-tart jam. Make your squash alive with spice. Wed the two.
You’ll end up with a happily arranged marriage of heat and vinegar and sugar, which you will snack on while you search the land over for the biggest, widest loaf of bread near you. Cut it straight across its belly. This will be your canvas; paint it with a primer of ricotta, then a thick coat of squash.
You may also make this on individual toast, or eat it straight from the pan, sans bread, like a heretic. But here’s the thing: If you choose bread that’s a foot and a half long, because you can, it becomes much more acceptable to eat toast for dinner. It becomes festive, an occasion to call neighbors and friends and say come over for toast. It becomes the only reason they actually show up after you say those words.
Armed with a foot and a half of bread heavy with fall’s best answer to tomatoes, you’ll have created the vegetarian equivalent of a T-bone: hefty, rousing, a little racy. It is a shameless slab of bread, and you will eat it as such: Throw it on a board, have your way with it. Don’t forget to pour the wine.
One 3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling 1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes, more to taste Kosher salt, to taste 1 yellow onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup maple syrup 1 large loaf of Pugliese, or smaller, thick slices country bread 1 cup ricotta, Flaky salt, for finishing 1/4 cup chopped mint
I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.