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- Culinary Arts & Cooking Techniques
Squash Flavor Surprise!
Acorn and Kabocha Squash
Rate Your Willingness to try this!
Squash is such a healthy vegetable and low in calories too. However, all most of us know to do with it is bake or micro-wave it. And there you have it: One flavor that we often bathe in butter and brown sugar.
The flavor is a little flat. The addition of butter and brown sugar reduces the healthfulness of the squash. Oh, what to do?
Moroccan Lemon Preserve OR Just Plain Lemon
Recently, due to the massive harvest of lemons in our area, I began experimenting with lemon cooking and preservation. This lead to my preserving lemons the way they traditionally preserve them in Morocco.
That meant I now had a new cooking layer and flavor to experiment with. When we recently found some lovely squash at a farmer’s market we purchased three of them.
So, I have combined and layered these flavors.
The first one I coked with was a Butternut Squash. I micro waved the Butternut squash until it was done. Then I seeded it and removed the rind and cut up the flesh. At that point, I was casting about in the fridge and spice cabinet for something ‘interesting’ to do with the cooked squash. Well, the Moroccan Lemon Preserve was just sitting there in the fridge.
So, I placed a splash of olive oil in a non-stick pan. I added about 2 tablespoons of the Preserved Moroccan Lemon juices to the olive oil. Then, I lightly sauteed the cooked flesh of the Butternut Squash in the pan with the oil and lemon juice from the Moroccan Preserved Lemon.
As all good cooks do, I then taste tested the Butternut Squash. It was quite good. At that point I threw all caution to the wind and minced up one of the quarter wedges of the lemon and threw in the dish. As the lemon sauce from the Moroccan Lemon Preserve is salty, you will not need anymore salt added to the dish.
The dish was very good. However, the finely minced up lemon wedges provide a very sophisticated grown-up adult taste. Do not add this to the dish if you are serving children, it is too strong.
As you can see, I expanded this recipe to include the common Acorn Squash and the not so common Kabocha Squash. Here is the recipe followed by a bit of information on the lowly squash:
- 1- 2 squash of choice, Acorn, Butternut, or Kabocha
- 1-2 T. Olive Oil, no need for first press here
- 1-2 T. Moroccan Lemon Juice, OR juice of 1/2 lemon and salt and pepper
- 1 wedge Moroccan preserved lemon, this is 1/4 of a small lemon
- Poke holes in the squash so they will not create so much steam as to blow up in the microwave
- Microwave the squash until done. This will vary upon the size of your squash. Check it by pushing the paring knife in it. When the knife goes in easily, the squash is done.
- Let the squash cool. Once cooled cut it open and remove the seeds. Spoon out the soft flesh.
- In a non-stick pan place the olive oil and the Moroccan Lemon juice (or just plain lemon juice) and heat up. Gently heat the squash in the pan until it is warm enough to serve as a hot dish.
- CAUTION: DO NOT add the minced lemon wedge if you are serving children as it is too strong for them. The purpose is to get them to LIKE squash! The lemon is too piquant for kids, generally! Also, there is plenty of salt in the Moroccan Preserved Lemon sauce.
There are winter and summer squash. Literally, this reflects when you harvest the squash. Winter squash tend to have thicker rinds that are not eatable. The summer squash have skins that are eatable.
Many fine restaurants serve squash as a sophisticated vegetable but I learned to eat it more of a common readily available Midwestern USA vegetable. Granted, the acorn squash was most likely to be roasted in the oven filled with butter and brown sugar but we did eat squash!
The summer zucchini squash is so plentiful in the late summer that there are a multitude of jokes about how people trick each other to take bags of the stuff. Zucchini is quite tasty though!
Squash is so plentiful and inexpensive. Do try and work with the various types.
Kabocha Squash, Butternut Squash, and Acorn Squash
These squash all vary from 40 calories to 60 calories per cup. The lowest in calories and carbohydrates is the Pacific Rim Kabocha Squash.
All of them are an excellent source of beta-carotene (converted to vitamin A in the body) as well as a good source of iron, vitamin C and some B vitamins. Of course, they are also high in fiber.
The only squash listed here that you may eat the rind is the Kabocha squash, but I did not do so with the above recipe.
Moroccan Lemon Preserve
Here are the easy instructions on making your own very inexpensive Moroccan Lemon Preserve. This is a gourmet item that, if you can find it, is sold at a very expensive price per ounce. Yet, it is so easy and inexpensive to make.
I also use the above method to add flavor to store frozen Mediterranean vegetables. Once they are steamed I toss them in the olive oil and Moroccan Lemon juice. Yummy
- Lemons Preserving and Using From Meats to Desserts
Lemon Preservation The Many Uses of Preserved Lemons Moroccan Style Preserved Lemons Flavors for roasts, stews, sauces, and salads. This is another way to impart zesty healthy flavor.