In my house, there are four givens at Thanksgiving:
1. There's going to be turkey.
2. There's going to be stuffing.
3. I will forget to set out at least one part of the meal.
4. I will spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the appetizer, sides and dessert.
This year, I started obsessing right around the time the Halloween candy came out and narrowed it down to the final three long before the last Snickers bar bit the dust. Here's how it's going to play out on the plate:
Grilled Butternut Squash with Brown Butter Powder
Courtesy of Tucker Yoder, executive chef of Clifton Inn, Charlottesville, Virginia
"This dish is inspired by fall with the use of seasonal squash and the nutty caramel flavors from brown butter," Yoder says. "It includes sherry vinegar and honey for the ideal kick of sweetness and tart to make an appetizer that will spark the taste buds."
Grilled Butternut Squash
- 1 butternut squash, large
- Salt and pepper to taste
Slice butternut squash into large plants ¼-inch thick. Grill on one side to char nicely, season with salt and pepper and finish cooking in a 350-degree oven for about five minutes, being careful not to overcook the squash.
Brown Butter Powder
- ½ stick butter, unsalted
- 8 ounces non-fat milk powder
Brown butter in a pan until it has a nice nutty aroma. Add non-fat milk powder and stir until the powder turns golden brown. Season with salt.
- ½ cup sherry vinegar
- ½ cup honey
Mix sherry vinegar and honey in a pot and cook until it becomes a syrup, about five minutes. Allow to cool before using.
Serve the squash with the grill mark side up with a dollop of sherry syrup, a sprinkle of brown butter powder and a small sage leaf.