torsdag 25 april 2013

Parmesan-crusted pumpkin wedges with yoghurt

My first was an accident, a mishap, the result of unintentional volunteer seed spreading through unprotected contact. A certain somebody had thoughtfully deposited half of a mouldy supermarket pumpkin into the compost heap which, much to my annoyance, managed to lodge itself onto the prongs of my garden fork every time I turned the heap. After much cursing, It eventually disintegrated and I spread the compost around the base of my chilli plants as mulch. At this very moment, I had become the unwitting propagator of pumpkins.

a green pumpkin
The Chinese lady next door told me that pumpkins are ready to harvest once the white splotches turn a yellow, creamy colour. My dad the self-proclaimed 'expert' confirmed this but failed to mention that pumpkins require a few weeks to cure before eating. So excited about picking pumpkins was I, that I cracked one open immediately and made a big batch of soup that tasted like total ASS. 

I thought I'd done something terribly wrong. Maybe pumpkins and chillies are not fitting companion plants and are instead, bitter instigators. Maybe pumpkins DETEST being watered with seaweed emulsion. I was full of self-doubt and loathing and distasteful pumpkin. I wept silently while the pile of pumpkins slowly grew.

A friend of mine offered me a copy of 'Plenty' by Yotam Ottolenghi after inadvertently ordering one too many online. When I chanced upon the recipe for 'Crusted pumpkin wedges with soured cream', the pumpkins too received a second chance lest I be left with a mouldy collection as a permanent reminder of inadvertent mistakes. This recipe has since become a staple that I bake time and time again. The wonderfully crisp parmesan crumb pairs perfectly with the soft and giving roasted pumpkin beneath. Try it. You'll see.

pumpkin wedges

Parmesan-crusted pumpkin wedges with yoghurt
a recipe adapted and completely bastardised from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

half of a pumpkin 
1 dl Parmesan, finely grated
1dl breadcrumbs
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 dl black Tuscan kale leaves, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp olive oil

Cut the pumpkin into wedges 2cm thick. Leave the skin on.
Toss with olive oil to coat and arrange onto a tray lined with baking paper.
Bake for 20 minutes at 180ºC.
Toss all of the remaining ingredients together and press firmly onto the sliced pumpkin.
Return to oven for an additional 30 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through and crust is golden.
Serve with a zesty natural or European style yoghurt dusted with ground cumin.

Cathy Xiao Chen

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