Pumpkin Crazy -Anti Chef

Sure, it's Halloween again and everyone is pumpkin crazy. Most people want to carve them, smash them, take baths with them....no? Well, no matter what spooky holiday application involving pumpkins gets you excited, the last thing anyone wants to see is a neighborhood full of old, stinky, deflated and rotting pumpkins come mid November. That's just sad and lazy. So be a good neighbor and use a pumpkin as food for once, the idea is not really all that crazy. Just think of all the crazy or even lame ways you have had sweet potatoes, or one of the big orange squashes like acorn, or butternut, and then insert pumpkin. All you have to do is figure out the best way to prepare it for any given recipe. Chances are you will be boiling it or roasting it. I usually roast it for any recipe I make, except for pumpkin soup, like the Ital boys eat down Jamaica way...I think the best place to start is a little Roasted Pumpkin Bruschetta.

The first thing you will need for this one is a little bit of crusty bread. Nice Italian bread like Ciabatta works really well, but in a pinch, one of those loaves you get at the bakery of your local grocer should do just fine. The thing to remember is don't spend any more money than you need to. If you have some bread, then great, if not, maybe make pumpkin soup...you will also need a couple of cloves of peeled garlic, some olive oil and salt and pepper. If you happen to work near an Italian restaurant or market, and you also happened to have some nice sausage like Cotechino, or some other groovy Italian pork product like Pancetta or Proscuitto then you could really get into this snack. Cheese would not be a bad thing either, especially if you were lucky enough to have come across some Parma Reggiano or Ricotta Salata...mmm, dry and salty, good with the sweetness of roasted pumpkin. Okay, okay....the first part is easy, kill your pumpkin...you know, like on the "great pumpkin" cartoon. I really prefer to work with the small to medium sized ones, a little smaller than a volley ball. But whatever you have...

Gut it, and cut it into quarters. If you want, reserve the seeds and roast them to use as a garnish, or a little snack. Since the pumpkin will be used in a savory application I would even sprinkle it liberally with kosher (or sea) salt and some cracked pepper. Then, plop it flesh side down on a greased baking pan and roast at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork. Once this cools just peel the skin away and there you have it. If the skin acts weird on you, just use a spoon to scoop the roasted pumpkin flesh out. Reserve.

Roasted Pumpkin Bruschetta


- roasted pumpkin pulp
- crusty bread, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
- 2 or 3 peeled garlic cloves
- extra virgin olive oil *
- kosher salt (or sea salt)
- extras *


- grill your bread until it is nice and dark brown, almost burned...by definition, this is a grilled item, but if you must, just toast your bread
- immediately brush the warm bread with the whole peeled garlic cloves, then drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil
- mix the roasted pumpkin pulp with a little olive oil in a bowl to moisten, then spread it liberally over the grilled bread

* cook's notes:

-if you want to cook the pumpkin seeds,rinse them to remove pulp and strings, toss with a light coating of veggie oil, roast at 325 for about 25 mins., stirring a couple of times

.....if anyone ever see's in print, or hears my voice saying ee vee oh oh instead of extra virgin olive oil, please hit me with a hot brick.

That's it ! You may choose to sprinkle this with a little chiffenade of sage, a little more olive oil, some crushed pumpkin seeds, Ricotta Salata, some crispy rendered pork product, or whatever...but you can enjoy the fact that this snack may have been rescued from culinary nowhere'sville by simply bringing in the family pumpkin before the frost and the coming winter show it no love at all. Aww, nice pumpkin....come on in my kitchen....it's getting coollld out there......yeah, there ya goooo....mmmmmmmm. -AC

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