"I'll always throw a few halved, stuffed butternuts straight on the coals at a braai," says chef Ash Heeger of Ash restaurant. She uses buchu, a garlicky evergreen shrub indigenous to South Africa, to season them. You can get close with a combination of thyme and garlic. Buying similarly sized squash, and distributing the coals evenly beneath them, will ensure consistent results.
In Cape Town, summer means braai—the unifying tradition of good, old-fashioned, gather-round-the-fire barbecue
- 4 small butternut squash (about 2 1/4 lb.), halved lengthwise and seeded
- 4 medium heads garlic, tops trimmed
- 1 small bunch buchu or thyme
- 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Flaky sea salt, for finishing
Preheat a charcoal grill to medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, soak 5 feet of kitchen twine in water.
Meanwhile, set the squash halves cut sides up, making sure to keep corresponding halves together. Add the garlic bulbs to the hollows of every other squash half. Add the herbs to the other empty halves. Drizzle the squash with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Reassemble the halves, then tie the top and bottom of each squash with the twine.
Place the squash directly on the coals; let cook, rotating with tongs every 15 minutes to char evenly all over (if the strings burn away, simply balance the squash halves atop each other). Remove when the squash gives no resistance when pierced with a paring knife, 45–60 minutes total.
Open the squash and remove the garlic and thyme. Top the cut sides with flaky sea salt, more black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve.