Herbed Butternut Squash Chips

Food52 co-founder Merrill Stubbs's baby Clara has quite the appetite -- and it's all Merrill can do to keep up. Armed with her greenmarket bag, a wooden spoon and a minimal amount of fuss, she steps into the fray.

Today: Merrill turns one of fall's best squashes into a crunchy, baby-friendly snack.

Like both her mother and her father, Clara loves crunchy things -- particular chips of any kind. I'm okay with her eating store-bought potato chips every once in a while (and yes, I've shamelessly expoited them as a distraction in airports, on long car trips, or when grocery shopping), but not by the bagful.

So I decided to take a technique I learned from Rivka and recently used to make apple chips and apply it to other produce to see what I could come up with. It's fall, so like everyone else we usually have at least one butternut squash lying around. I ended up with a really adorable mini one the other week, and instead of cutting it into cubes and roasting it or folding it into risotto, I decided to slice it up and make butternut squash chips.

Scouring my herb box, which is on the verge of heading into hibernation for the winter, I came up with a few hardy sprigs of oregano, thyme and sage that had yet to succumb to the cold. I finely chopped the leaves and tossed paper thin slices of butternut squash with the herbs, a healthy splash of olive oil and plenty of kosher salt. Then I spread them out on cookie sheets and baked them low and slow for a couple of hours before turning off the oven and leaving them in there overnight to cool and crisp further.

The next morning when I tried them for the first time, the squash chips were crisp and salty and also slightly sweet -- but it was the aromatic herbs that kept us all coming back from more. Move over potato, there's a new chip in town.

Herbed Sweet Potato Chips

Herbed Butternut Squash Chips

Makes about 2 cups

1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound
2 teaspoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (I used sage, thyme and oregano)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees F and put a rack in the middle of the oven. Peel the squash and cut it in two, separating the thin end without seeds from the bulbous end. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard them (or save and roast them if you're feeling energetic).

2. Slice the squash finely with a mandoline, about an 1/8-inch thick. You'll have nice neat rounds from the seedless end, and pretty rings from the other end.

3. Toss the squash in a bowl with the herbs, olive oil and salt. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and spread out the squash slices in a single layer on the parchment. Bake for an hour, then flip the slices using tongs or a spatula. Bake for another hour. Turn the slices again, lower the heat to 200 degrees and bake for another hour. Turn off the oven and let the chips cool in there for several hours, or overnight. Remove from the parchment and serve, or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Photos by James Ransom

This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Herbed Butternut Squash Chips