"The finest way to experience the changing seasons is sourcing and eating the freshest seasonal produce," shares Tart London's Jemima Jones. "Of the four seasons, autumn is the most bounteous – there’s no beating its tapestries of colours: bright orange pumpkins and squashes, vivid purples and reds from beets and peppers, and dark leafy greens."
"Deep, powerful flavours with vibrant and vivacious colours make this dish really stand out. The butternut squash turns almost to caramel as it chars in the hot oven. Balanced with fresh green salsa and tangy crème fraîche, the squash seems to sing. You will definitely be asked for the recipe."
1 butternut squash
For the marinade
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Generous squeeze of honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp grated cayenne pepper
Few sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
For the salsa
1 garlic clove
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
5 spring onions
60g pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
1 large red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 and line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. First, make the marinade. In a small pan, heat the butter and olive oil, then add the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and thyme. The moment it begins to bubble, remove from the heat and season well.
3. Give the squash a good clean. You don’t need to peel it for this recipe (always a relief), but you do need to chop it up. We find it easiest to cut it about halfway down, at the end of the round bit. Cut both pieces in half and scoop out the seeds from the rounded part. Then, use a mandolin or sharp knife to cut into thin slices. Put these pieces in a large bowl, pour the marinade over and massage through with your hands. Season with salt and pepper and leave for at least 10–15 minutes.
4. Make the salsa by blitzing everything together in a food processor; taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. Place the squash on the prepared baking trays in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 10–15 minutes. To make it extra crisp on top, it’s nice to place it under a hot grill for a few minutes at the end. When the squash is out of the oven, place the pumpkin seeds on another tray and roast in the oven for no more than 5 minutes.
6. To serve, scatter the squash over a serving platter, drizzle over the green salsa, blob with the crème fraîche and varnish by sprinkling over the toasted pumpkin seeds and red chilli. You can make this in advance and serve at room temperature – just assemble when you are ready to eat.