Squash on toast makes tasty appetizer

New York TimesDecember 18, 2012 

  • Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Squash on Toast 1 2 1/2- to 3-pound kabocha or other yellow-fleshed squash, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes, more to taste 3 teaspoons kosher salt 1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup maple syrup 4 slices country bread, 1 inch thick 1/2 cup ricotta, goat cheese, feta or mascarpone Coarse salt 4 tablespoons chopped mint HEAT the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the squash, 1/4 cup olive oil, chili flakes and 2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook, stirring every few minutes, until tender and slightly colored, about 15 minutes or a little longer. Remove from the oven. HEAT another 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onions and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are well-softened and darkening, at least 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and syrup, stir and reduce until syrupy and broken down, again at least 15 minutes or so; the mixture should be jammy. COMBINE squash and onions in a bowl and smash with a fork until combined. Taste for seasoning. ADD the remaining oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add bread and cook until just golden on both sides, less than 10 minutes total; drain on paper towels. Spread cheese on toast, then top with the squash-onion mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt and garnish with mint. Yield: 4 to 8 servings

There is nothing new or unusual about mashed squash or about mashed vegetables on toast. (What’s new is that the toast is now frequently called crostini.) Still, it’s not surprising some veggie-toast combinations will come as revelations.

This squash-toast combination is served by Dan Kluger, executive chef at ABC Kitchen in Manhattan. The squash is creamy but chunky. There is a lot of complex sweetness, but acidity as well, and it’s lean as well as fatty.

Put it on nicely toasted bread and you have a real winner. But it also occurred to me that the mashed squash alone would make a terrific holiday side dish.

Dan’s boss, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, showed me how to put it together.

For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link:

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Squash on Toast

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