Butternut Squash with Fried Sage Leaves
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cut in half lengthwise two butternut squash, take out the seeds and place them flesh side down on a cookie sheet with about 1" of water in it. Cover loosely with tin foil or some parchment paper you have balled up run under water and then opened up again.
Cook until the flesh of the squash is soft anywhere from 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven, take the covering off and flip the squash so they are flesh side up and let cool.
Once cooled scoop out the flesh and mash it up in a bowl so it has a consistent texture.
Generously butter a casserole and place the mashed squash in it. Place 6 pats of butter (1 T each) all over the top of the squash and place in the oven at 350 F. Heat for about 10-15 minutes until the squash is nicely hot and the butter pats have melted.
Take out of the oven and stir to incorporate the butter, add salt and freshly ground black pepper and taste for seasoning. At this point you can leave the baked squash out for a few hours covered until you are ready to serve it and then re-heat it just before dinner.
Moments before you want to serve the squash add enough oil to a skillet to fry the sage leaves, I use olive oil for this, but peanut or canola work fine as well. You'll need about 1 cup of oil or enough to fill the pan about 1/2" up the side.
Turn the heat to medium high and when the oi is hot, but not smoking add 16-20 fresh sage leaves. Fry for just 30 seconds until they are crisp.
Dry the fried leaves on a towel then sprinkle them on top of the baked squash.
Non Dairy Options:
If you want to make this without dairy I suggest oiling the casserole dish with either canola or coconut oil and replacing the butter on top with 6 T of coconut milk, which should be stirred into the squash before baking. Instead of sage top the baked sage off with a few tablespoons of lime juice and fresh coriander leaves and a 1/2 cup of toasted large coconut flakes and of course always season with salt and pepper to taste.
I came across the above picture when I did a Google search for butternut squash and thought it was to good to not sure - it was on a site called grannybuttons.