Add a little spice and a lot of zest to your Thanksgiving feast with these sweet 'n' spicy roasted squash. The glaze is a rich, tangy combination of butter, honey, Aleppo pepper with a ton of citrusy goodness from both preserved lemon paste and fresh lemon juice. The whole dish is finished with a generous sprinkle of dukkah—an Egyptian spice-nut mix, blending roasted sesame seeds, almonds and hazelnuts with ground cumin, coriander and sea salt—adding both textural crunch and warm, smoky flavor.
Recipe, food styling and photography by Asha Loupy
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
To prepare the squash, cut a small slice off the top and bottom of the squash. Peel each squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon. Place the peeled and halved squash on the reserved baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, making sure each squash is fully coated. Season with one teaspoon of salt and place cut side-down on the baking sheet. Roast until the squash just starts to turn tender, about 15-20 minutes.
While the squash is prebaking, prepare the glaze. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the honey, lemon juice, preserved lemon paste and Aleppo pepper, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until just thick enough to coat spoon, 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low and keep warm.
Remove the squash from the oven. Transfer one squash half to a cutting board and place one chopstick on each long side of the squash. Cut parallel slits into the squash, spacing the slices about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch apart, stopping just before you cut through the squash (here is where the chopsticks are there to guide you). Carefully transfer the cut squash back to the baking sheet, score side up. Repeat with the remaining squash halves.
Baste the squash with the reserved glaze and roast, basting with more glaze every 10 minutes, until the squash is fully cooked, about 40-45 minutes. Baste with the glaze one last time and sprinkle liberally with dukkah. Increase the oven temperature to 475°F and roast until the glaze starts to caramelize and the dukkah is toasted, about 8-10 minutes.
To serve, carefully transfer the squash to a platter. Drizzle with any leftover glaze from the pan, garnish with fresh mint leaves and finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.