Published September 1, 2004.
Tired of mealy, stringy squash that takes an hour to bake? We wanted it faster and better.
After what seems like eons in the oven, it often lands on the table with little flavor and a dry, grainy texture.
At its rare best, it is characterized by a sweet, almost nutty taste and moist, smooth flesh - a result that should not take hours.
Believe it or not, microwaving took first place in cooking methods, presenting a squash that was tender and silky smooth, with nary a trace of dryness or stringiness. Hammering out the details was easy: Microwave on high power for 20 minutes, and the squash is perfectly cooked. It was best to halve and seed the squash before cooking; whole pierced squash cooked unevenly. Last, I learned that when added before cooking, salt seemed to better permeate the squash. Filling in the only remaining gap, equal portions of butter and dark brown sugar gave the squash ample - not excessive - sweetness. And for a smooth, cohesive filling mixture, combining the butter and sugar with a pinch of salt and briefly broiling the final product eliminated the nagging sticky glaze problem.list of recipes