These Butternut Squash Fries Are a Game-Day Party Food Win

Photo: Jenna Cantagallo for Well+Good

Even if you're a die-hard sports fan, everyone knows hosting game day is as much about the food as it is following the action on the TV set.

Instead of just putting out a bowl of Tostitos and jarred salsa, go all-out and try veggie-forward chef extraordinaire Dan Kluger's butternut squash fries.

This recipe will have you forgetting potatoes (Russet or sweet) in favor of the orange-fleshed farmers' market staple. Add in his lemon-parmesan aioli, and you've got a dish with serious MVP potential.

No one knows this better than Kluger: The former ABC Kitchen and ABC Corina chef opened his long-awaited restaurant Loring Place this past winter, and it quickly became one of New York's buzziest dinner spots. If you can't nab a table at the locavore-obsessed resto, this popular menu item should more than suffice.

Scroll down for Dan Kluger's butternut "fries" with lemon-parmesan aioli recipe.

butternut squash fries
Photo: Jenna Cantagallo for Well+Good

Butternut "fries" with lemon-parmesan aioli

1 butternut squash

For the lemon-parmesan aioli:
2 lemons
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
3 oz parmigiano-reggiano cheese broken into small pieces, ground or grated
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp white miso
Rosemary needles from 1 large sprig
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the butternut squash oil:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chili flakes
Zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup picked sage leaves finely chopped

For the batter:
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup seltzer
1 qt canola oil

For the lemon-parmesan aioli:
1. Using a microplane, zest the two lemons and put the zest in a blender.

2. Squeeze the juice from both lemons, removing any seeds, and add to blender. Add enough champagne vinegar, cheese, salt, pepper, miso, and rosemary, and place the top on the blender.

3. Begin to puree the mixture on medium-high speed, then, while blending, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the vinaigrette is very thick and creamy, about one minute. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper as needed.

4. Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate until using. Stir well before serving.

For the butternut squash oil:
1. Mix all ingredients together.

For the butternut squash:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Take a butternut squash and cut the bottom part with seeds off, and reserve for another use. Trim the stem off the top.

2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the butternut until it gets to the darker orange flesh. Now cut into planks that are a half inch thick by three inches long. Cut each plank into half-inch fries.

3. In a mixing bowl, toss the fries with enough of the oil to coat well. Spread the squash onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in one even layer.

4. Roast in the oven until just tender, but not falling apart. Cool until ready to fry.

For the batter:
1. In a bowl, stir together the cornstarch, flour, and baking powder until completely mixed.

2. Combine the vodka and seltzer together. Then slowly add, while continually whisking, the liquids into the dry ingredients.

Putting it all together:
1. Fill a large pot with about one quart of with canola oil. Heat over high heat until the temperature reaches 375°F.

2. Put the butternut fries in a bowl and pour the batter on top of them. Either using your hands, a slotted spoon or tongs, lift a piece of squash out of the batter letting some excess drip back into the bowl. Then, carefully slide it into the oil. Repeat this with remaining squash and don’t over crowd your pot of oil—do it in batches. After about one minute the squash should be crispy and light golden brown.

4. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove from oil and drain on a plate with a paper towel. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve with the lemon-parmesan aioli.

Each week we spotlight a healthy-delish recipe that’s truly genius (and easy to make) from someone who’s wowed us in the food world. We’re talking buzzy cookbook authors and Instagram foodies to brilliant chefs. Here’s the seasonally on-point dish you’ve got to make (and share) right now! 

Need a recipe for all of those sweet potatoes? Try five! And for the morning-after, this coffee-avocado smoothie should hit the spot.

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