The Deluge

November 2, 2012 Comments Off on The Deluge

I made the recipe below for lunch on Halloween.

The whole time I was in the kitchen, I couldn’t shake this Sylvia Plath quote from my mind:

“Today is the first of August. It is hot, steamy, and wet. It is raining. I am tempted to write a poem. But I remember what it said on one rejection slip: ‘After a heavy rainfall, poems titled ‘Rain’ pour in from across the nation.'”

Fall, especially October, is when the deluge of pumpkin something-or-other recipes and food products arrives. Just take a look at your favorite food blogs and on the shelves of  every major grocery store  in the country:

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin soup, pumpkin-spiced coffee and tea…

I had to restrain myself from posting a pumpkin muffin recipe a couple of days ago. They were good muffins, but I decided that the world didn’t need another pumpkin muffin recipe.

Then this recipe for crusted pumpkin wedges in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty caught my attention. I seldom ever see pumpkins used in savory preparations. I was intrigued.

What can I say about Plenty that hasn’t already been said at this point? I will say this–it’s an endless source of inspiration for me. The recipes in this book challenge me improve my cooking by incorporating new ingredients and flavor combinations. A year or so after first leafing through Plenty, I’m still learning so much.

I made just a minor modifications to the original recipe. I left out all dairy products, in this case shredded parmesan and sour cream,  to see if I could make a satisfying vegan version. The end-product was bright, clean, and highly aromatic. By eliminating the dairy, I allowed the delicate seasonings to take center stage. The bread crumbs are an ingenious touch. The give the roasted pumpkin wedges a much-needed textural component.

I ate the crusted wedges, still warm from the oven, with my hands. Or, as an old friend from college would likely say, “with my face.”

The world may not need another pumpkin muffin recipe, but there’s certainly room for more recipes like this one.

Crusted Pumpkin Wedges (inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty)

-1 small pumpkin (1-3lbs works best)

-Sunflower seed oil, for brushing

-3 tablespoons whole grain bread crumbs

-3 garlic cloves, crushed

-6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

-3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

-Zest of 2 small lemons (a splash of lemon juice is nice, too)

-Salt and black pepper to taste

 

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pumpkin by scooping out the flesh and cutting into thin wedges. Leave the skin on. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

-Make the crust by combining the bread crumbs, crushed garlic, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl.

-Coat the pumpkin wedges with plenty of sunflower seed oil. Use your hands to give each of the wedges a good, heavy coating of the crust.

-Roast the pumpkin wedges in the oven until completely tender (or easily prodded with a fork.) Remove from oven to cool for a few minutes. Serve warm.

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