october 28, 2020
When it’s time to plant fall pansies, my eye is drawn to the color combination of orange and purple. Although if taken individually, they are not part of my favored home color scheme of natural browns and greens. But there is homage to the memory of my wardrobe preferences in early adolescence of orange and purple everything. And I do mean everything. Shirts, shorts, dresses, culottes, coats, scarves and all manner of accessories simply had to be either orange, or purple, and preferably both.
These days, colorful plates of food in the orange and blue-purple ranges are pleasing to the eye. Sweet and sour red cabbage with roasted crescents of delicata squash constitutes a colorful and easy side dish that’s gluten free, vegan and great for the holiday table.
It would be easy to dismiss the Italian parsley in this recipe as just window dressing, but the bright vegetal taste of fresh parsley elevates this dish to something other than sweet and sour. I happened to have a bounty of bright parsley growing in pots this year and as the weather has cooled the plants are even more vivid in color and intensely flavorful. If you don’t grow your own, a bunch at the grocery store, plunked stems down into a water filled jar or drinking glass, loosely covered with a plastic bag, will keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks. Simply change the water every couple of days and enjoy Italian parsley in salads, pastas, smoothies and egg breakfasts.
Two bonuses with this easy side dish: delicata squash are so tender you can eat the roasted skin so there’s no need to peel, and the finished dish lasts in your fridge up to one week, making it a most welcome make-ahead side.
Speaking of good fridge keepers, red cabbage stays fresh for several weeks, especially if wrapped in a special reusable plastic bag created for optimal storage. I usually have some at my house for quick veggie sides like Asparagus and Shiitake Stir Fry and crunchy things like Shrimp, Avocado and Vegetable Salad.
As much as I love autumn and winter squashes, this is only the second time I’ve written about delicata squash since Flounder with Balsamic Fall Vegetables. Lots of butternut squash recipes, but not much with the thinner-skinned cousins like acorn and delicata. So easy and creamy and so pretty on the plate. That’s something I can remedy in the future—I feel a change coming.
Red Cabbage and Delicata Squash
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 8 servings
extra virgin olive oil
one delicata squash
¾ cup finely diced red onion
8 cups (about 2 pounds) finely shredded red cabbage
finely ground white pepper
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Italian parsley leaves
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut thin slice off squash ends, cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
- Slice ½ inch crescents and toss by hand with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of kosher salt on large sheet pan (do not use insulated pan as they will end up poaching); spread out slices .
- Bake squash crescents for 15 minutes and set aside.
- In very large saute pan, combine red onion with another tablespoon olive oil and pinches of kosher salt and white pepper over medium high heat.
- When onions begin to sizzle, turn heat to medium and stir frequently until they begin to turn translucent and tender, about 10 minutes; adjust heat to prevent browning.
- Add red cabbage with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 cup water, using tongs to coat well.
- Cover skillet on high heat and bring to boil; cook over medium heat about 10 minutes or until cabbage is mostly tender.
- Add brown sugar and red wine vinegar, tossing well, and cook covered another 5-10 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent scorching (add a touch of water if it looks dry).
- Top cabbage in serving platter with roasted squash and plenty of Italian parsley. May be served warm or at room temperature and keeps in the fridge up to 1 week.