Rivoli executive chef and co-owner Wendy Brucker has been featuring delicata squash on her Berkeley restaurant menu throughout the winter months for the past five years.
Rivoli executive chef and co-owner Wendy Brucker delights in delicata squash and has been featuring it on her menus at her Berkeley restaurant throughout the winter months for the past five years.
Delicata is a variety of winter squash that is cylindrical in shape with a characteristically delicate cream-colored rind with orange and green stripes. Brucker first discovered it at Monterey Market and was immediately attracted to its color and edible peel.
She favors a simple preparation of roasted delicata tossed with premium extra virgin olive oil and vadouvan, a mild French interpretation of a curry that combines traditional elements like cumin, coriander, and turmeric with aromatics, such as shallots, garlic, and onion.
When Brucker first decided to season the delicata with vadouvan, she experienced a voilà moment and onto the menu it went. Guests often remark on the exotic curry spice addition with its umami quality and can’t quite place it, which delights Brucker. Vadouvan is available at the Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland or Albany.
Brucker likes to serve the delicata squash side with fish or shellfish entrées, like Mount Lassen trout or alongside lentilles du puy, sautéed with mirepoix, bay, and extra virgin olive oil, and crumbled feta or goat cheese. The delicata is also delicious served with some prosciutto and aged balsamic.
Rivoli recommends pairing this recipe with a delicate grenache with a sweet cherry palate and dusty herbs sprinkled all around, such as Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyards’ A Tribute to Grace Grenache, 2015. A pinot noir would also pair swimmingly.
Roasted Delicata Squash With Vadouvan
3 pounds delicata squash (4-6 inches long)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (Rivoli uses Seka Hills brand)
2 tablespoons vadouvan (preferably from Oaktown Spice Shop)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt to taste)
2 teaspoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise and trim off and discard the ends. De-seed the squash with a spoon, then slice it into ½ inch thick crescents. Do not peel.
In a large bowl, toss the squash with the remaining ingredients to thoroughly coat. Loosely arrange the squash on a rimmed baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd. Place the sheet into the preheated oven and roast for about 30 minutes, until tender and lightly caramelized. Do not overcook.
Serve immediately or prepare the squash earlier in the day and the reheat for 5 minutes in a 500 F oven. This recipe is also delicious at room temp. Serves 6-8 as a side dish.