A refined maple gastrique is the crowning touch on this butternut squash gratin. Serve as an updated replacement for sweet potatoes as part of your fall and winter holiday menus, or as an a la carte side dish that goes with meat and pork roasts and braises.
FOR THE MAPLE GASTRIQUE
- In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring maple syrup, vinegar and salt to a simmer. Reduce until the liquid is thickened into a syrup, about 8 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
- Add water to loosen mixture if it becomes too thick.
FOR THE GRATIN
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Butter a casserole dish and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter until it begins to brown and has a nutty aroma.
- Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the same pan and add the butternut squash, onion, dried thyme and garlic; season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the water and allow to cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the squash has developed a golden-brown color and becomes tender.
- Uncover the pan, add the cream and cook for 2 minutes longer.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and the melted brown butter. Stir until well combined.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the butternut squash.
- Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
- In a separate pan, heat the remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil and fry the sage leaves until crisp.
- Drain the sage on paper towels.
- Garnish the gratin with the fried sage and fresh parsley, and drizzle with the maple gastrique.