It seems we fall into two camps. The summer forever crowd who is reluctantly dragged into shorter days and darker nights—and the rest of us. If you’re like me, a world without bare trees and cold mornings is a world that feels unbalanced, incomplete. You can long for 70-degree days and hot summer sunlight; give me the rustle of dead leaves dancing in a winter breeze, the cozy darkness of a day that retreats inside by 6 p.m.
The table is where we can reconcile. Steaming bowls of soup, tender long braises, and caramelized winter squashes comfort us all. In fact, winter squashes, with their vibrant flesh, seem designed to make us forget summer’s bounty entirely. So, wherever you find yourself this year as you wade into autumn, caramelized winter squash can be your ally.
Consider delicata squash: small, striped, and delightfully sweet, it charms anyone when roasted until deeply caramelized. If you truly want to be enchanted, toss the squash slices in olive oil, maple syrup, curry powder, and red pepper flakes to deepen delicata’s earthy sweetness. Just before serving, pile it all on a beautiful platter and finish with pomegranate arils, salty pepitas, and fresh mint leaves. I promise this: even the most passionate summer lovers will find it hard to deny the magnetic pull of these autumn jewels.
Photography by Jivan Davé
Caramelized Delicata with Pomegranate and Mint
6–8 small delicata squash (about 4 lbs.)
5 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Kosher salt to taste
¼ c. fresh mint, torn or as small leaves
¼ c. roasted pepitas
½ c. pomegranate arils
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
2. Slice delicata squash crosswise into rings or semi-circles. You may leave the seeds or remove them (for easiest seed removal, slice squash in half vertically, scoop out seeds, and then slice crosswise into semi-circles).
3. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, maple syrup, curry powder, and red pepper flakes. Add squash slices and toss well until slices are coated. Spread the squash out onto large sheet pans for roasting and season generously with
4. Roast for about 30 minutes or until deeply golden brown and caramelized around the edges, turning squash once halfway through.
5. Transfer squash slices onto a serving platter and top with pepitas, pomegranate arils, and fresh mint. Squash may be roasted ahead of time and warmed before topping and serving.