TONY STAPLES: Go nutty with butternut squash

Cod supreme with butternut squash
Cod supreme with butternut squash

Add a splash of colour to your autumn dishes with versatile butternut squash says Tony Staples, executive, head chef of the Arora Hotel in Crawley.

While everyone is going pumpkin mad with Halloween, why not try cooking with that less famous gourd, the butternut squash? This vegetable has a velvety texture and a sweet, nutty taste that complements meat and fish.

Tony Staples

Tony Staples

Preparing a hard-skinned butternut squash can seem a little daunting, but there is no need to attack it with a machete. Simply slice the stem and bottom ends off, and use a sharp knife to cut it in half at the point where the squash narrows. Then use a normal vegetable peeler to remove the skin.

Butternut puree and fondants can both be made in advance. Heat the fondants through when you put the fish in the oven and they will soak up the juices of the cod as well as the garlicy butter. Once you’ve tackled your butternut squash and prepped the fondant and puree, the rest of the dish will take around 10 minutes to put together.

l The Grill in the Arora is Crawley’s only AA-rosette restaurant and has recently retained this honour for the fourth year running. To book, call 01293 530000. Follow us on Twitter @aroragatwick. Like us on Facebook Arora Hotel Gatwick Crawley. Share your butternut squash dishes with us on Instagram by tagging @aroragatwick.


Supreme of cod with butternut squash fondant, puree and chorizo

Serves two

2 chunky cod fillets with skin on

1 butternut squash

125g butter

Sprig of thyme

Clove of garlic, sliced

1 medium carrot

10g chorizo cut into small cubes


Peel the butternut squash and remove the seeds. Cut the neck end of the squash into small rectangles, 1cm thick. Chop the bell end of the squash into chunks. Peel and chop the carrot into thin slices.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the garlic and thyme. Add the chopped bell end of the squash and any trimmings from making the rectangles into the frying pan with the carrot. Put on a lid or cover with foil and gently fry until soft.

Lift the vegetables out with a slotted spoon. Discard the thyme and whiz the vegetables using a hand blender. Add a little melted butter to make smooth puree.

To make the butternut fondants, pan fry the rectangles of butternut squash in the same frying pan of melted butter until golden both sides and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake in the oven, 180oC, until tender. This should take 10 minutes.

In a small frying pan, fry the chorizo until crisp. Reserve.

When you are ready to cook the fish, heat the same frying pan of melted butter and place the cod skin side down and fry until the skin is crisp. Turn over, add the cooked butternut squash fondants and the chorizo, and put the dish in the oven, 180oC, for about 6 minutes.

To serve, put some warm puree onto two plates. Top with a piece of cod and add the fondants and pieces of chorizo. Delicious served with wilted spinach.

Chef’s tip

Turn the butternut squash puree into a soup by adding some chicken stock and cream and pinch of turmeric and paprika to give it a little heat.

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