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Hasselback technique makes humble squash a star

Do you want to give the inexpensive, unassuming butternut squash a sophisticated, glamorous makeover? Do this: Hasselback is a popular technique of preparing a potato or other similar vegetable by cutting a bit more than halfway through so that it looks like a fan. Then butter, herbs, spices, breadcrumbs and/or nuts are added between the slices and baked.

In this recipe I’ve taken a butternut squash and sliced it a la Hasselback and covered it in a golden caramelized glaze inspired by the flavors of honey mustard. Then I topped it with glazed pecans for amazing crunch and dried cranberries for little flavor bombs of tartness. The result is a squash that’s a harmonious fusion of sweet and savory, crunch and chew, butter and zing. And it’s gorgeous.

I mentioned honey mustard was my inspiration for this glaze. I used brown sugar and Dijon mustard rather than honey or honey mustard to keep costs down and it’s wonderful. It’s not overpowering nor is it sticky sweet. This makes it play well with other foods and perfect for the Thanksgiving table.

If you don’t want to go to the hassle of Hasselback, just cube the squash and add the glaze as you roast it in a 400-Fahrenheit oven, adding the toppings before you serve. It’ll still taste delicious with just the amazing glaze.

Amazing glaze, how sweet the sauce that saved a squash like thee. And I’ve decided the plural of squash should be squish. Let’s make it happen.

GLAZED HASSELBACK BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Yield: 8 to 10 side servings

What you’ll need:

1 3-to-4-pound butternut squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

½ cup butter at room temperature

½ cup brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

½ cup pecan halves

¼ cup dried cranberries

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel, halve lengthwise and remove the seeds from your squash. Rub the squash all over with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes to soften.

Prepare the glaze while the squash bakes. Combine softened butter, ½ cup brown sugar and salt. Add the mustard and stir. Add the vinegar and stir once more. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

After 20 minutes, remove squash from the oven and let cool enough to touch.

Move each half to a cutting board and place a wooden spoon or similar utensil on either side of the squash to act as a guard as you cut to insure you don’t cut all the way through. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut thin, vertical crosswise slices in the squash, about 1/8 inch apart, being careful not to cut fully through the squash.

Return squash to the baking sheet, flat side down, and schmear about a quarter of the butter mixture onto each half, getting some between the slices. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and schmear the rest of the butter mixture divided between the two halves. Bake 20 more minutes.

Remove from the oven. Baste some of the melted butter in the pan over the squash and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar evenly over the squash. Add the pecans to the pan, coating them with the melted butter mixture. Bake an additional 10 minutes for a total of 70 minutes cooking time.

To serve, carefully transfer the squash to a serving dish and top with pecans and cranberries. Admire the beauty of your stunning dish.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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