A grilled or pan roasted butternut squash steak is a crowd favorite I've relied on for years. I love a good cut of meat, sausage, or a steak on the grill.
Sometimes I might need vegetarian or vegan recipes that can work with the same garnishes as as a piece of meat. Squash slabs fits neatly into both a meat menu as a vegetable option, and a vegetarian menu as a meat option.
It's super easy, so easy that a formal recipe for it hardly seems necessary. But, after seeing a few cooks mangle them here and there, I'm going to give you a basic outline with some pointers to help you succeed if you want to try them out.
One of the best parts, especially for events and catering where I rely on easy vegetarian entrée recipes, is that a squash slabs fits neatly into both a meat menu as a vegetable option, and a vegetarian menu as a meat option.
The garnishes can be whatever you want. Pictured is a a pile of hedgehog mushrooms, wilted watercress and an herby salsa verde. It's simple to put together, and much more appealing than the common afterthoughts like limp bowls of stir-fry, or frozen bean burgers.
Butternut Squash Steaks with Hedgehog Mushrooms and Salsa Verde
- 1 10 inch cast iron skillet or skillet tilt pan
- 1 Y shaped vegetable peeler
- 1 10 inch frying pan or saute pan
- 1 large butternut squash
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon flavorless cooking oil plus more for cooking
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large clove garlic optional
- 1 sprig rosemary optional
- 8 oz Fresh mushrooms
- 1 Tablespoon Cooking oil
- Wilted or steamed watercress spinach, or another green you like, for serving
Salsa Verde (see recipe)
- Cut the neck off the butternut squash where it connects to the round base. reserve the base for soup or another purpose. Using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, peel the neck with a vegetable peeler to reveal the orange flesh.
- Peel the top of the squash down until all the orange flesh is revealed, then cut into thick steaks, about an inch thick.
- Put the squash steaks in a shallow dish or pan like a cookie sheet, drizzle with the oil, turning over to coat, then season with salt and pepper on each side.
- To cook the steaks, preheat the oven to 325F, then heat a cast iron pan until nearly smoking.
- Add the squash steaks, another drizzle of oil, and cook without disturbing them on medium-high heat until the bottom side is starting to develop color, about 3-4 minutes until deeply browned. Flip the cakes and transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Browned sides and fork tender flesh are what you're going for.
- Remove the pan from the oven and gently lift up the squash with a spatula to gauge the color. Add the butter, garlic and rosemary to the pan, using a large spoon to continually baste the squash steaks, turning occasionally until browned. be careful not to burn them.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes until wilted. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the oil and a pinch of salt and cook until lightly browned.
- When the squash steaks are golden brown and delicious, serve them, browned-side up, dividing the mushrooms over each squash steak, with some wilted greens on the side. Pass the sauce at the table.
Using other squashesSome other squashes like kobocha can be used here, but they will need to be cut into wedges and are more difficult to peel.
Herb Salsa Verde
- Good blender
- 2.5 oz Mixed fresh herbs washed and cleaned* you want a good blend here, as big as you can manage: basil, chives, tarragon, parsley, cilantro, mint and lovage are all good.
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or finely chopped anchovies
- 2 oz lemon juice + zest of one lemon (red wine vinegar is a good substitute
- 1 tablespoon nonpareille capers
- ⅛-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes depending on your heat tolerance
- ¾ cup 6 oz blended olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- Chop the herbs coarsely, making sure any stems aren't too long, which can make a stringy sauce.
- Combine the chopped herbs and remaining ingredients except the oil and water in the bowl of a blender, then puree, drizzling in the oil, until very smooth.
- At the end, add the water, then puree for another 5 seconds or so to really get it nice and smooth. Transfer to a pint jar and store in the fridge. The sauce will lose it’s bright green color after a few days but will be good for weeks.