Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Today we went to Papa's Pumpkin Patch, a fun family outing in Bismarck-Mandan with hay bale mazes, zip lines, slides, pony rides, a cute little train for kids and, yes, plenty of pumpkins for the pickin'. We go every year, but this year I was pleasantly surprised to walk in and see this:
Squash. I don't remember Papa's having anything other than pumpkins and maybe a few decorative crooknecks in years past. Maybe I can stretch my memory and recall a few butternuts in the mix, but then again, in years past I was a bit more preoccupied navigating the place with the infant version of Ben, trying to get a half-decent picture of my little one.
This time, while toddler Ben played happily with dad in the hay bale maze, I got a chance to pursue these gorgeous gourds and imagine the possibilities. Spaghetti squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, hubbard squash, even ones I hadn't heard of before like the red-and-green-splattered turban squash. Beauty.
In autumn, I think we can all agree that pumpkin is king. Jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin cake. But in reality, when it comes to eating, pumpkin isn't the best of the bunch. I've read good things about sugar pumpkins, but they aren't easy to come by in these parts, where most use whole pumpkins exclusively for decoration. Plus, pumpkin is a pain to work with. I've tried many-a-time to process a pumpkin into pulp, and am sorry to say, I'll take a can of Libby's any day instead of going through that ordeal again.
But butternut squash, be still my heart, I declare butternut queen of the winter squashlings. That sweet, soft orange filling is something I wait all year to enjoy. I roast it, I puree it, I chop it and throw it into pasta or risotto, but whenever I work with it, shooting from the hip in the kitchen, it's always something rich in butter or cream and often sweetened with a hefty dose of brown sugar. This recipe was a refreshing change: olive oil, lemon and a ton of herbs coating the squash created an entirely different experience. And I'm guessing this would work pretty darn well with most of those other squash lovelies available at Papa's, too.
Crusted Squash Wedges
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
1 and 1/2 lbs butternut squash (skin on)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 Tbls dried white bread crumbs
6 Tbls. finely chopped parsley
2 tsp. finely chopped thyme
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbls. chopped dill
Preheat over to 375 degress. Cut the squash into 1/2" thick slices and lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
In a small bowl mix Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, garlic, a pinch of salt and some pepper.
Brush squash generously with olive oil and sprinkle with crust mix, covering thickly. Gently pat the mix down, but don't expect it to stick to the slices. Place the pan in the oven and roast 30 min or until tender. If the topping is getting too dark, cover loosely with tin foil during cooking.
Mix sour cream with dill and some salt and pepper. Serve wedges warm with sour cream on the side.
Posted by Rhubarb and Venison at 10:11 PM