Halloween doesn't have to be all child's play with silly treats that appeal more to children than to adults. With a few ingredients and an imaginative spark, you can create a grown-up appetizer that embraces the fun of the holiday with an elegant twist. It starts with a simple, creamy butternut squash bisque that's poured into small shot glasses. And then, for a dramatic finish, the glasses are garnished with parmesan crisps that resemble spooky spider webs. It's an upscale dish that's hard to resist when you're an adult who craves a treat but still doesn't mind a trick.
Prep the Butternut Squash
Slice off each end of the squash. Lay the squash down on the cutting board and cut it in half where it narrows in the middle. Stand each piece on end and, using a vegetable peeler, peel away the skin. Make sure the green fibrous threads running end-to-end are removed as well. Keep peeling until there is only orange flesh exposed.
Stand each piece on end and slice each one in half. Remove all of the seeds and scrape out the membrane with a spoon. Next, dice the squash.
Short on time? Look for pre-cut butternut squash in the produce section at the grocery store. You will need approximately a pound and a half.
Make the Butternut Squash Bisque
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add the diced butternut squash and stir to coat it in the oil. Let the squash cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next, pour in the vegetable stock. If needed, add additional water to ensure the vegetables are covered with the liquid. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender. After, puree the soup using a blender or an immersion blender until it's smooth. Lastly, add the cream and stir well to combine.
Wait to add the cream until you're ready to serve. Without the cream, the soup can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If frozen, thaw the soup before reheating it on the stove.
Make the Spider Web Crisps
To make the crisps, pile generous tablespoons of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Carefully flatten each pile to make a circle shape, leaving an inch or so between each circle.
Bake the crisps at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes, or until the crisps are bubbling hot. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.
The crisps should not be made too far in advance of serving. For best results, bake the crisps while warming the soup on the stove.
Assemble the Shooters
Pour 3 to 4 ounces of the bisque into each shooter glass. To attach the spider web crisp, make a small cut in each crisp and place one on the edge of each glass.