the delicate delicata. the namesake for delicata sunshine. oh the delightful, the smooth, the fantastically lovely delicata squash–that pale, muted orange encased in golden sunshine, mossy green stripes dripping down the happy yellow.

finally, it’s in my autumn kitchen! on wednesday, i headed to the seed wayne farmer’s market at wayne state university on a quest for a bushel of tomatoes to complete the winter stockpile of canned rubies. the anxiety that pulsed through my body when i learned there were no bushels of tomatoes at the market at 3:30pm wednesday (a friend found me some later that day) began to dissipate when i saw the delicatas for sale at the grown in detroit booth. i promptly bought three. the last three. and with great glee i went home to make myself a feast.

these beauties are winter sqaushes, but i think of them more as an autumn squash… more rich and creamy than summer squash and zucchini, like a butternut. but, long and narrow and with edible skin, they don’t last as long as the harder winter squashes.

i first learned of these when last fall, when i started my work at earthworks urban farm. on my first visit to see my parents after moving to detroit, i

brought them a delicata with excited eagerness. it really doesn’t take a lot to get me excited. especially when we’re talking about food.

the delicata love spreads with a contagious spirit. i don’t think i have ever been so pleased as i was when, labor day 2009, after buying some at the traverse city farmer’s market, my dad, grinning, exclaimed that the squash was the highlight of our fresh and local feast. nothing beats a father’s love for great squash.

roasted delicata

delicata squash
extra virgin olive oil
honey or sugar (optional)
thyme (sprigs look prettier, i just don’t have any in my pantry)

1. preheat the oven to 425º.

2. cut the delicata in half. scoop out the seeds. (add those to your compost pile!) quarter the squash.

3. lightly brush with olive oil and a little honey (if you use it), sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh ground pepper, sugar (if you decide to use it) and thyme. they are a sweet squash on their own, the sugar/honey is really not necessary, but can add a layer to the sweetness. the honey especially, adding its own glorious tones of flavor.

4. roast in oven for 30 minutes, until it is soft when prickly with a fork. sometimes i leave it in longer, letting the edges get crispy even.

serve! enjoy! my fall diet is not complete without my smooth, sweet, mellow delicata sunshine.