Serves 6 to 8 as part of an antipasti or as a side
The cooler months of the year are the best time to find all varieties of sweet winter squash. The ones I’ve chosen here are small and super sweet, so you can use a few varieties for color and taste. I especially like the honey nut variety. I’ve been seeing it more and more at the farmer’s market—it’s like butternut squash’s smaller, richer cousin. If you can’t find all of these squashes, feel free to use all of one kind or 1 large butternut.
- 1 ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small delicata squash (about 1 pound)
- 1 small acorn squash (about 1 pound)
- 1 small honeynut squash (about 1 pound)
- Vegetable oil, as needed
- 20 small fresh sage leaves
- ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt together in a small saucepan. Let simmer over high heat until the sauce is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, add the garlic slices, and let the marinade cool. Stir in the olive oil. Slice all of the squash in half lengthwise, and scrape out all the seeds. You don’t need to peel the delicata or honey nut, but peel the ridges from the acorn squash. Cut crosswise into ⅓-inch-thick half-rounds.
Pour a thin layer of vegetable oil into a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil sizzles on contact, add the sage leaves and fry until just crisp, about 2 to 3 seconds. Remove to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add a layer of squash to the pan, spaced slightly apart. Fry for about 3 minutes on the first side, then flip the slices over. Fry on the second side another 2 or 3 minutes, until the slices are cooked through (easy to pierce with the tines of a fork), crisped on the surface, and caramelized on the edges. Lift out the slices with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with salt.
Repeat with the remaining squash. Arrange a single layer of fried squash in the bottom of a shallow serving dish, large enough to hold all of the squash. Scatter four or five sage leaves on top. Stir up the marinade, and drizzle a few spoonfuls over the squash. Scatter some of the garlic slices on the squash, too.
Layer all the squash in the dish this way, topping each layer of fried slices with sage leaves, marinade, and garlic. Drizzle any remaining marinade over the top layer of squash. The marinated squash can (and should, if you have time!) sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving. Sprinkle the almond slices over the top right before serving.