Everyone is familiar with food demonstrators showing off fully prepared foods, but Wegman's tends to rely on food stations throughout the fresh produce section with demonstrators cooking recipes from scratch. A couple of days ago, I sampled a baked mixture of delicata squash, red onions, and fennel. As expected, I was able to eat the rind of the delicata squash in the store's sample. But something went awry in my home version; the squash rinds were rock hard -- definitely not edible. The flavor of the dish was good so I'd like some help.
Picking the squash? Some of the squash had green streaks in the grooves and others had orange streaks. Is there a difference? Should there be some give when feeling the exterior of the squash?
(Doing a bit of research on the internet just now, I read that a delicata squash should not require hacking to cut the raw vegetable. Mine did! In hindsight, that was probably my first clue something was amiss.)
Baking: The recipe called for cooking at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes. The demonstrator warned me against following those directions. He said he thought that temperature resulted in an overcooked result. As a result, I began by cooking the vegetables for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. At that point, I put my salmon in my other oven which meant that I had 18 minutes left of cooking time. I didn't feel that vegetables would be fully caramelized in 18 minutes at the 375 degree temp so I upped the oven temp to 400. The vegetables probably stayed in the oven an additional 20 minutes. When I began serving the vegetables, I realized that the squash rinds were inedible and I scooped the flesh off the rind. The resulting dish was delicious, but I'd like to find out what went wrong.
I used the following ratio of ingredients:
2 parts delicata squash slices (between 1/4- and 1/2-inch wide)
1 part fennel slices (bulb cut into thin slices)
1 part red onion cut into large dice about 3/4" square
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon peach balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
The original Wegman's recipe used 2 tablespoons of a house-brand product called basting oil. The fully baked vegetables were then drizzled with additional pumpkin oil. I used my regular brand of olive oil and one of my many flavored balsamic vinegars. No pumpkin oil. In fact, no final drizzle, just some salt and pepper.
Any thoughts on selecting or cooking delicata squash so the rinds remain edible?