At our house, we have squash issues. My beau and I love to stock up on butternut and acorn every fall, but unless we make time to cook with them they stack up like heads on the counter. On a recent Sunday, I decided to have at them. I invented Eggs Tarentaise.
Tarentaise is a sweet, Gruyère-like cheese from Vermont that is much loved at the cheese counter. It’s nutty, bold, and full of caramel notes, which got me thinking it might taste good against roasted squash.
Because it was a Sunday morning, I imagined cracking a fresh egg into each butternut half once it was baked and the seeds scooped clean. With some garlic, fresh thyme, and a pinch of grated nutmeg, this dish came into being.
On a slow morning, this was a lovely way to rise and enjoy some shine. It took a good hour and twenty in the oven, so if you decide to replicate the experience you’ll need to make some coffee and enjoy the Times.
Comté or Gruyère will work in this recipe, but if you can find Tarentaise you’ll be glad you sought it out. This Alpine-style beauty developed a following when it first appeared on the scene in 2008. The original makers at Thistle Hill Farm couldn’t keep up with demand, so they recruited their neighbors at Spring Brook Farm to help.
Now both farms produce this stellar cheese.
On a cheese plate, Tarentaise pairs well with walnuts, fresh or dried fruit, and malty beer, but with eggs and squash, it turns into melted bliss. The smell of this dish baking will raise your loved ones from their beds.
Baked butternut squash halves form a nest for gooey Vermont cheese and soft-centered eggs. Dip garlic toast into the yolks and you’ll have a poached-egg-squash dish that’s sunny to look at and delicious enough to devour for breakfast.
- 1 small butternut squash
- 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, unpealed
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1/2 cup Tarentaise, finely cubed or grated
- ground pepper
- ground nutmeg
- sea salt
- baguette rounds or toast
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Leave the butternut squash whole, but pierce it a few times with a paring knife so it doesn’t split in the heat. Bake it on a cookie tray or Pyrex dish for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft enough to halve with a knife.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the hot seeds, then brush the cut halves with olive oil, drizzling a little extra in each seedless cavity. Drop in a clove of unpealed garlic and a sprig of fresh thyme.
- Return the squash halves to the oven, face up on a tray. Bake another 30 minutes, or until a fork pierces the inner flesh cleanly and easily. Remove the squash from the oven.
- Turn the oven down to 375 degrees. Remove the garlic cloves with tongs and set aside.
- Crack an egg into each squash cavity and top with Tarentaise, sprinkling a little extra across the length of the squash. Return the halves to the oven for 15 minutes, or until the eggs are set but still custardy.
- While the eggs bake, prepare the toast. Slather each slice with roasted garlic and any leftover cheese. Serve alongside baked squash for dipping. Top each squash half with ground pepper, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and sea salt before serving.