Marinated Butternut Squash

“This recipe is very versatile and great for a home cook,” says executive chef/partner Thomas Ciszak of Chakra Restaurant in Paramus. “The marinated squash can be used in salads or sautéed with some of the liquid and served as a vegetable.”

Photo by Frank Diaz.

"At Chakra, I combine the squash with frisée salad, pumpkin seed vinaigrette, and my favorite goat cheese, Humboldt fog. The sweet-sour taste and combination of spices with the lightly bitter lettuce is very savory."

Serves: 6-8


2 each butternut squash, peeled and sliced in rounds (#4 on slicer)
1 quart water
2 tbsp. apricot jam
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup white wine
2 tbsp. fresh horseradish, roughly chopped
1 tbsp ginger, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. shallots, sliced
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. white peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
2 sprigs thyme

Method of preparation:

Peel the squash and cut into desired shape and size.

Combine all other ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower flame and allow to simmer until flavor develops. About 20 minutes. Add squash and simmer until tender.

Remove from heat and let squash cool in the liquid! Store the squash in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. For optimal flavor, store for 2 days before using.


Frisée with Pumpkin-Seed Vinaigrette

Serves: 6-8

1 head frisée lettuce
4 tbsp. Austrian pumpkin seed oil (Ciszak says the best source for Austrian pumpkin seeds and oil is online.)
2 tbsp. Champagne wine vinegar
1 tbsp. butternut squash marinade liquid
4 tbsp. Austrian pumpkin seeds
salt, pepper, sugar to taste

Method of preparation:

Clean the frisée lettuce at the core. Soak the lettuce in room temperature water for 20 minutes. Dry the lettuce with a salad spinner and rest on a paper towel.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin seed oil, champagne wine vinegar, and butternut squash broth. Season with salt, pepper, and a little sugar to taste. The dressing does not need to be emulsified, but mix well.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a sauté pan over medium heat until lightly toasted and add to the vinaigrette.

Toss the frisée lettuce with the vinaigrette before serving.

Serve the frisee salad on the butternut squash rounds and top with goat cheese, blue cheese, or any cheese of your preference.

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