A Fall Appetizer
Saturday is the first day of fall. I plan to warm my way into the season by roasting some wieners and then some s’mores down at the campfire.
Before we put those wieners on sticks, I want to sit back in my lawn chair with a big glass of red wine and snack on something autumnal. This appetizer is exactly what my cozy mood calls for.
It’s a dip bursting with the fall flavors of butternut squash and apples, topped with toasted pecans. You can serve it alongside crackers or slices of baguette. My favorite thing to do is to toast slices of baguette and, as the bread comes out of the toaster, rub the cut side of a clove of garlic over the slice. So good.
A Fall Appetizer: Butternut Squash and Roasted Apple Dip
- a 2lb butternut squash, whole and unpeeled
- 1 large tart apple, such as granny smith
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 oz plain goats’ cheese, softened
- 2 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (or 1/4 tsp dried sage)
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place the butternut squash onto a baking pan that has an edge. Jab the squash deeply several times with a sharp knife. Place into the pre-heated oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel, core and quarter the apple. Toss the apple with the olive oil. When the timer beeps, add the apple quarters to the pan containing the butternut squash. Roast until everything is lightly browned and soft to the touch, about 35-45 minutes more.
- Put the following into a food processor: the softened goats’ cheese, the roasted apple quarters, the sage, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, several grinds of black pepper and the nutmeg. Blend together.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise (wear oven mitts if the squash is too hot to handle). Scoop out the seeds and fibers and discard. Scoop the remaining flesh (but not the peel) into a bowl, you should have about 1.5 cups. Add the butter to the bowl of squash and mash with a fork until the butter has melted in. Add the buttery squash to the roasted apple mixture in the food processor. Puree until it is smooth and has an even creamy-peach color.
- Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and/or pepper if necessary. You want to taste the pepper but you do not want the dip to be salty. Blend again if you’ve added seasoning. Place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Serve garnished with the pecans.
What are your plans for the first day of fall? If they involve some gloriously autumnal foods please please please tell me all about it!