Cooking Squash with Chef Sandy Dee Hall

As soon as the leaves fall and the air gets a continual bite to it the cravings for comfort food begin. They inspire Chef Sandy Dee Hall’s menu at North Sea Tavern almost as much as the local ingredients he creates edgy, modern dishes from.

Hall’s seasonal menu depends on what the local farmers and producers have and in November that means a lot of things that store well. He loves pears, preserved fruits and fermented vegetables that help to extend the summer. And squash.

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“Squash is very good,” Hall said. “There are more than 40 different kinds of squash, there’s so much versatility in the varieties. They’re the ugliest amazing looking things.”

cooking squash

Stuffed Spaghetti squash with ground beef tomatoes and seasoning. Topped with parsley. image: eric_urquhart

At North Sea Tavern, Hall’s November menu is all about comfort food that invokes Thanksgiving. Think spices such as nutmeg and cardamom. Squash works well with it all. Order the Salad-Burrata of roasted delicate squash and micro greens ($18) and you’ll be biting into fall. He opens up the squash, pulls out the seeds and slow roasts it with salt, pepper and olive oil. While you could eat the squash warm right away, at North Sea Tavern, Hall puts it into the fridge to cool and tops it with micro greens and seeds for a heartier salad.

For the home chef, Hall promises squash is easy.

“Squash is one of those vegetables you can’t really mess up,” Hall said. His only rules are to get squash from the farmers and know what kind of squash you’re using.

“You can do anything with it,” Hall said.

Grab some butternut squash and give it a go with Hall’s recipe for soul-warming soup.

Squash Soup Recipe

cooking squash

You really can’t mess up squash. image: thefurnaceroom

Recipe by Chef Sandy Dee Hall of North Sea Tavern
Serves 2

Whole Butternut Squash
6 Garlic Cloves
1 Red Onion
EVOO Olive Oil
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Cut the butternut squash and red onion in half and place on baking sheet with the cut-side up. Add garlic gloves and mix all ingredients with a generous portion of EVOO. Place tray in oven and slow roast on 275 degrees for 55 minutes. Take ingredients out of oven and place in a blender with a half cup of heavy cream. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. To add a nice touch, garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.