A reader asked me if I could make something with a squash besides butternut squash and zucchini, and I was immediately intrigued to take the challenge. There are so many scrumptious squashes out there, but butternut is admittedly my go-to fall/winter squash, and zucchini is my go-to summer squash, so I often forget to use anything else. I hadn’t realized that I was giving other squashes the cold shoulder until my reader made that request.
The first squash that came to mind was acorn squash. It has been so long since I’ve eaten it that I couldn’t tell you the last time, but I know I enjoyed it as a kid at some point. I remembered its mild, sweet squash flavor, and knew there were endless possibilities for it.
I could’ve done the typical gratin or bake, but this is The Smart Cookie Cook, and we shake things up around here. So, I dreamed up these Acorn Squash Fries with Cheddar-Sage Sauce, and without realizing it, made the best fall appetizer you’ll have all season.
A bold claim that may be, but I stand by it. I dunked the first of these golden brown beauties into the creamy, thick cheese sauce laced with that distinctly fall-like flavor of sage, took my first bite that sank through crunchtastic seasoned breading to a melt-in-your-mouth interior, and I knew I had something special. It was beautiful how the sweetness and savoriness played off of one another. And although I went in planning to only try a couple, I split the entire thing with my boyfriend.
He too was amazed at how good these were. Just one fry was enough to ignite a frenzy within him, and he threatened he might not share any of it with me. Of course, I was having none of that. Our compromise was sharing.
And now, I’m sharing the recipe with you so you can enjoy the crunchiest, tastiest finger food you’ll find this fall. Even as a lover of squash, I never knew squash could taste this good. Whether you’re talking game day eats or holiday appetizers, you’d be a fool not to serve these Acorn Squash Fries with Cheddar Sage Sauce.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- If you’re looking for more unexpected ways to enjoy squash, try my famous Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese. It’s a favorite among many, myself included.
- Milk can be subbed for the cream in the breading.
- You can also add the fresh sage to the breading, if you’d like.
- Acorn squash is a pain to work with, and I haven’t figured out a good way of removing the skin. If y’all have suggestions, let me know. That being said, I promise it’s worth it in the end.
- Be patient. These will take a little while to get good and brown, but you want to make sure they’re super crunchy.
- Use fresh sage, or don’t bother at all.
Acorn Squash Fries with Cheddar Sage Sauce
By The Smart Cookie Cook
Easily serves 4
- 1 acorn squash, halved
- 2 cups cream
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. olive oil
For the sauce
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. fresh chopped sage
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash cut side-up on the pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool enough so you can handle it.
- Remove skins and discard. Cut squash in 1-inch thick strips (it doesn’t’ have to be exact, just go for a fry-like size). Try to keep them all close in size so they cook evenly.
- Turn oven up to 400 degrees. Place a fresh piece of foil on baking sheet and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place eggs and cream in a shallow bowl and lightly whisk together. Place flour in another shallow bowl, and the breadcrumbs in a third bowl. Take a fry and dip it in the flour, coating the entire thing. Then dunk it in the egg/cream mixture so it coats completely and finish with a dip in the breadcrumbs, making sure the whole fry is covered. Place on baking sheet.
- Once all fries are coated and on the pan in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and whisk in flour. Immediately whisk in 1 cup of the cream until completely free of lumps. Sprinkle in sage then cover and let simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes, making sure it does not boil.
- Turn heat to low and whisk in cheeses and salt until smooth and melted. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup of cream.
- Serve fries with cheese dip. Enjoy.