Sometimes you make a meal where the side dish competes with the main dish as the standout of the meal. That was my experience with my first Delicata squash dish. The main course, in this case, was a whole Red Snapper roasted with sliced lemons and Rosemary. With that as an entrée (and it was delicious), one wouldn’t expect a side dish to compete with it.

Enter the Delicata Squash, which seems to be in supermarkets everywhere right now. Here’s how I made it: Preheated my oven to 400 (my oven runs hot so you might want to go to 425). I cut the ends off the squash and then sliced it in half lengthwise. The inside of the squash reminded me of a pumpkin, and I dealt with it the same way I would a pumpkin. Using a large spoon, I scraped out the seeds and stringy center leaving two U-Shaped halves. Then I sliced each half crosswise, making each slice about ¼ inch thick. Note that unlike some winter squash you do not need to peel a Delicata and the skin, once cooked, is delicious.

Delicious Delicata

Next, I peeled two large apples, cored them, and cut them each lengthwise into 6 segments. (for this dish you want nice large apple segments. I used Honeycrisp but Granny Smith would well too.

In a large bowl, I mixed several tablespoons of olive oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. I’m not providing amounts here because it’s really to your taste. I’m not a fan of sweet squash dishes so I kept the amounts fairly modest. Mix the ingredients and then add the squash and apple and mix the coat thoroughly.

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. This is important for cleanup since the sugars are going to carmelize a bit while baking making cleaning a bare pan a real chore, but make sure your parchment paper is rated safe for 400+ degrees. Arrange the apple and squash pieces in a single layer and drizzle and the remaining mixture over the pieces.

Roast the squash and apples and start testing them with a fork after about 15 minutes. The goal is for the squash to be very tender while the apples remain somewhat firm.

Delicious Delicata

When I served this along with the Roasted Snapper the resulting dish was nicely balanced. The squash and apples complemented the mild firm fish, but it was the combination of apples and squash that stood out. The squash was tender and almost creamy with somewhat firm skin. The apples were still firm. A bite of creamy squash and still-firm apple was a perfect combination!

Try pairing Delicata Squash with an off-dry Riesling for a great wine pairing.