Monday, November 18, 2013

Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Sage

It's most definitely winter squash season. I'm happy to share yet another recipe highlighting winter squash in celebration of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash! Coincidentally, this month's challenge from the Creative Cooking Crew is to share a Thanksgiving appetizer. This was the perfect opportunity to create a dish featuring winter squash that is perfect for starting a Thanksgiving feast.

I had eyed this recipe for Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Sage from Bon Appetit magazine for quite some time. It starts quite simply with frozen puff pastry and thinly sliced butternut squash. What results is a shattering of crisp layers and sweet squash, finished with shaved Parmesan cheese, chile-infused honey syrup, and fried sage leaves.

This rustic tart sways from savory to sweet, spicy to salty; it's a really beautiful presentation of flavors that sets your taste buds dancing. The complexity in taste matches the myriad of textures as well--crispy, soft, sticky. All wrapped in one.

This tart was immensely popular among my family! It was truly so easy to make, and only uses part of a butternut squash, so the remainder can easily be used for another dish! I'll be sharing that creation next week ;-) It can easily be doubled using a whole package of puff pastry if you're planning on serving a crowd!

Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Sage
Serves 8
(from Bon Appetit Magazine October 2012)

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package) (I used a sheet from a 1 pound package from Trader Joe's and it worked great)
1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
12 (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled butternut squash (from the neck)
Kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
1 thinly sliced Fresno, jalapeño, or red Thai chile
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently roll out 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package) on a lightly floured surface to a 10" square (just enough to even out). Transfer to prepared sheet.

Brush pastry with 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water. Arrange twelve 1/8"-thick rounds peeled butternut squash (cut from squash's neck) over pastry, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1/2" border. Place another sheet of parchment paper over squash. Set another large rimmed baking sheet over the tart. (This will weigh down the pastry dough and steam the squash slices.)

Bake until bottom of pastry begins to brown and top begins to puff, about 10 minutes.
Remove top baking sheet and discard top sheet of parchment paper. Brush squash slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt. Return tart, uncovered, to oven and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and cooked through, 25–30 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup honey, 1 thinly sliced Fresno, jalapeño, or red Thai chile, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (add another thinly sliced chile if more heat is desired). Boil until thickened slightly and syrupy, about 6 minutes.

Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet until just beginning to smoke. Add 12 fresh sage leaves; fry until crisp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Slice tart. Arrange 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan on top; drizzle with chile-infused honey. Garnish with fried sage leaves and a few grinds of black pepper.


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