When farmers markets close and vegetable choices dwindle, every restaurant menu seems to feature butternut squash -- in soup, in pasta, or in salad. But after a few months, even squash superfans will admit to butternut malaise. Enter: delicata. This heirloom squash is experiencing a dramatic revival thanks to the richer flavor and softer skin of a productive variety that first hit seed markets about a decade ago. Also known as "sweet potato squash" for its brown sugar flavor, delicata tastes like a cross between fresh corn and pumpkin pie.
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Plant delicata squash in the summer, and it will be ready to harvest after 80 to 100 days in full sun, when its cream-colored skin begins to develop irregular dark-green stripes, like someone has painted the vegetable with an unsteady hand. We love it in this hard squash hummus recipe, which appears in Modern Farmer's fall issue, and is adapted from a dish served at Bar Tartine in San Francisco.
2? pounds hard squash, such as delicata or butternut 1? cup extra virgin olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons) 2? heads garlic, separated into cloves and peeled (about 1⁄2 cup cloves) 2 or 3 ?serrano peppers, sliced in half, stems and seeds removed 3? tablespoons lemon juice Plain yogurt for garnish (optional) Cilantro leaves for garnish (optional) Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional) Crusty bread, pita, or crackers