I feel confident in saying that I am not the only one who took an involuntary moment of silence upon viewing the Hasselback Butternut Squash with Bay Leaves in Bon Appétit's November issue.
In case you haven't seen the thing, it's a butternut squash halved and belly down, its back rising triumphantly on the platter (imagine: a humpback whale breaching the water's surface).
Cutting through its skin are what appear to be (and what are!) millions of extremely precise slits less than 1/8 inch apart (imagine: the lines left by wind in desert sand). Each slice has either smiled and frowned under the oven's heat; the golden-browness along the cuts indicates crispiness. Tucked gingerly into a few fissures are bay leaves and, resting atop the squash's humps, balance carefully placed chile slivers.
Ah, it is a sight to behold!
But more than sheer preternatural beauty, the squash also has innovation on its side: We shrug at hasselback potatoes (named, according to Julia Moskin, after the Stockholm hotel where it was invented in the 1950s), but squash? I hadn't seen it before.
And since Bon Appétit's recipe came on the scene, I've noticed—and feel free to mock me here—a mini resurgence in hasselbacking (grammaticians, turn away). People are hasselbacking it all. When in doubt, hasselback. Hasselback or bust. Hasselback or be hasselbacked.
Personally, I've never had the patience to make all those surgical incisions, but advantages of hasselbacking include...
You have reason to be wary of dryness, but hopefully you'll compensate for that with lots of butter (and in the case of BA's butternut, with basting every 10 minutes for an hour—eep!).
So, what can you hasselback? And what hasn't been hasselbacked yet (read: opportunity to be a H.B. pioneer)?
Have you had success hasselbacking? Have you tried BA's squash? Share an experience in the comments below.