Yesterday was the first day that truly felt like fall. The air was cool and crisp, the sky was bright blue, and the tell-tale draft that finds its way into our apartment made its first appearance. Some Tokyoites are not pleased with this change, but I am thrilled. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of cooler weather and this year, of all years, had to be warm for an unusually long time. I must say that was poor timing on Mother Nature’s part. Carrying around a baby at 9 months pregnant in unseasonably warm weather is not ideal.
OK, the weather report is over…moving right along…
Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the kabocha recipes I’ve been posting lately? Is it too much? Maybe a little overboard? Hopefully you don’t mind. Some ingredients have so much lovely flavor and versatility, making them worthy of the extra attention. This recipe is one I found on Sprouted Kitchen. Originally it was made with butternut squash, but I find that butternut and kabocha squash are often interchangeable.
If you’ve had a busy day and need something nutritious and easy for dinner, this is the perfect solution. I have served with with roasted chicken, or on its own as the main dish. The flavors are beautiful- nutty garlic and dried herbs combine with the light, crunchy panko bread crumbs to create a flavorful, crunchy contrast to the buttery squash. I used a garlic, red pepper and thyme infused olive oil to coat the squash, but regular olive oil is also just fine.
What makes this dish even better, at least here in Tokyo, is that I can find kabocha squash that has already been cut into the perfect slices. It doesn’t need to be peeled, so I can just take it out of the package and in about 5 minutes have it on a baking dish in the oven. This makes my pregnant feet very pleased.
What are your favorite simple squash recipes? You can never have too many dishes like this in your collection!
Crusted Kabocha Squash
Slighty adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
1 Kabocha squash (about 1 1/2-2 lbs.)
2 t. Olive Oil
1/2 t Fresh Ground Nutmeg
1/3 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 minced garlic clove
1 T finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme (or other dried herb)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the kabocha in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the kabocha into slices about 1/4 inch thick (no need to remove the skin). In a large bowl, toss the kabocha with the olive oil and nutmeg. Transfer to a large baking sheet, making sure the slices have a little breathing room.
In a food processor, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Pulse just enough to combine the ingredients- don’t do this too much because your breadcrumbs will become too fine.
Sprinkle the squash with the bread crumb mixture. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the bread crumbs are a golden brown, about 25 minutes. While the squash cooks, enjoy the beautiful fragrance that fills the kitchen…that’s one of my favorite things about making this dish!