A couple weekends ago I visited Gordon Skagit Farm in Mt. Vernon, WA. And apparently I left my self control at home that day. Because I had the overwhelming urge to buy EVERYTHING while I was there. I wanted as many apples, pumpkins, squash, cider and pies as I could carry.
So now I’m sitting in my tiny floating home surrounded by bushels of fall goodies. Let’s just say it’s a very good thing that squash and pumpkins can do double duty as decorations, because currently there isn’t any more room left in my pantry. I’ve got these things scattered all around my house. I’m just so Martha Stewart these days…
But having an excess of anything in the kitchen is great for fueling the fires of recipe development. Because who wants to eat the same old squash soup for the next 3 months. Not me. That’s for sure. So that’s how I landed on my new current obsession: Open-Faced Butternut Squash and Apple Sandwiches with Fried Sage Leaves.
There isn’t a single thing about this sandwich that I don’t just completely love. You really can’t go wrong with bread, cheese, apples and roasted butternut squash. And to make them just a little more over the top, I finished them off with some fried sage leaves and a drizzle of honey. It’s a whole lot of autumn all in one place.
Serve these with a side salad for a satisfying lunch or a vegetarian dinner. Or easily turn them into appetizers for your next party by assembling all of the ingredients on smaller baguette slices for a fall-theme crostini.
Open-Faced Butternut Squash and Apple Sandwiches with Fried Sage Leaves
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 15-20 fresh sage leaves
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 loaf sourdough bread (or something similarly rustic)
- 3-4 apples
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or crumbled
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- Fry the sage leaves. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sage leaves, working in batches to avoid overcrowding, and fry for about 10 seconds. Transfer the fried sage leaves to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and set aside. Once all the sage leaves are fried, remove the skillet from the heat. Do not discard the oil (you will use it below).
- Roast the butternut squash. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half down it's long axis. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the butternut squash halves cut-side up on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the squash with some of the reserved olive oil, using just enough to coat each half. Sprinkle with the minced garlic, salt and pepper. Transfer the squash to your pre-heated oven and roast for about 45-55 minutes, or until it's tender and a fork easily pierces the flesh When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use your hands to peel off the skin. Transfer the flesh to a medium bowl. Add a drizzle of the reserved olive oil and mash it lightly with a fork. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Cover and keep warm.
- Assemble the sandwiches. Turn your broiler on. Slice the bread, placing the slices on a large baking sheet. Thinly slice the apples and layer them over the bread in a single layer. Top with a couple tablespoons of the mashed butternut squash, pressing it down lightly to help it stay in place. Sprinkle the tops with some of the cheddar cheese. Transfer to your oven and broil for about 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove the sandwiches from the oven. Top each with a few of the fried sage leaves and a drizzle of honey. Serve immediately.
1. Gorgonzola or havarti would also be great here.