SQUASH BRUSCHETTA WITH WHITE BALSAMIC VINEGAR
Eating seasonally requires a commitment to eating more gourds in autumn and maintaining a very sharp knife blade. Supermarket shelves and farm stands pile squash in gorgeous eye candy piles. The usual suspects and popularity contest winners, butternut and pie pumpkins, are the go to gourds, but do consider increasing your circle of comfort and bringing home a cheerfully striped delicata with edible skin, or a red kuri, a.k.a. Hokkaido, with bright orange flesh and a nutty taste and aroma. This recipe can be made successfully with all walks of gourd life. Beer is a particularly good accompaniment--find a local brewery and bring home a KEG of Oktoberfest, harvest or pumpkin ale.
Nota bene: Most supermarkets will slice baguettes on their industrial bread slicers--saving time and making uniform slices. Cutting the pumpkin into tiny dice makes it easier to eat. Check the squash often while roasting as it may cook more quickly depending on the oven and water content of the squash. Any leftover squash is wonderful tossed with pasta, a bit of brown butter seasoned with chopped fresh sage, a splash of golden balsamic and a sprinkling of parmesan.
1 sugar pumpkin, cut in half, rind and seeds removed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf of French baguette, sliced
4 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese
4 spring onions, chopped
10 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, reduced to 4 tablespoons
6 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Maldon sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Chop pumpkin into small bite sized 1/4 inch cubes. Place pumpkin cubes on a baking sheet pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, toss cubes with a bit of olive oil and place baking sheet in oven until tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet pan and drizzle the slices with olive oil. Toast in the oven until crispy, about 8 minutes.
4. When ready to serve, place a spoonful of pumpkin on the bread. Add a couple of pieces of the shaved Parmesan, and a few pine nuts and a sprinkling of the spring onions. Drizzle with the white balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with a few flakes of Maldon sea salt.