Double Nut

Butternut meets marcona

Fried heart-shaped marcona almonds from Spain are one of our go-to cheese-plate accompaniments. Chef Mark Mendez, known for pairing seasonal ingredients with Latin classics, takes these slightly sweet nuts from cheese plate to striking side dish by sprinkling them over silky butternut-squash purée at his Chicago restaurant, Vera. Now we have a new reason to enjoy an old favorite.

Recipe adapted from Mark Mendez, Vera, Chicago

Butternut Squash With Marcona Almonds
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Fried heart-shaped marcona almonds from Spain are one of our go-to cheese-plate accompaniments. Chef Mark Mendez, known for pairing seasonal ingredients with Latin classics, takes these slightly sweet nuts from cheese plate to striking side dish by sprinkling them over silky butternut-squash purée at his Chicago restaurant, Vera.
Servings
4
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)--halved lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
  • Flaky sea salt
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lay the squash cut-side down on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Tuck 1 clove and ½ cinnamon stick under each squash cavity and place the squash in the oven. Roast the squash until very soft and fork tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. Heat the cream in the microwave until warm.
  3. Scoop out the flesh from the squash halves (discard the skin) and place in a blender. Purée with the warm cream, butter and brown sugar until silky smooth. Serve on plates with a drizzle of honey, marcona almonds and flaky sea salt.
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