I am always itching for inspiration in the kitchen and one of the ways I find it is to eat out at new restaurants. I had dinner on Saturday night at ABC Kitchen…another Jean-Georges venture. He is a brilliant chef and innovator.
I was there once, just after their opening, and was excited to go back again! It was a busy Saturday night, and when we asked our waiter to suggest an appetizer, he told us about the Kabocha Squash and Ricotta Bruschetta. It didn’t sound that interesting but we made friends with the couple at the next table, and they were also raving about this dish. When I took my first bite….Mmmmmm. It was sweet and salty, crunchy and smooth. So many textures….just the way I love to eat. Uncomplicated food and filled with so much Flavor.
I couldn’t wait to try it myself at home! Since Sunday is my cooking day, here is my Sunday recipe. There is a secret to this recipe and the waiter shared it with me. Caramelized onions. Yes…totally one of my favorite flavorings. Jean-Georges was so ingenious to combine the deeply roasted squash with the sweet caramelized onions. Heaven in a bite. You’re gonna love this!!
Kabocha Squash and Ricotta Bruschetta 2 pounds squash ( Kobucha or Butternut), skin removed and cut into small chunks
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh Ricotta cheese
1 baguette sliced into rounds, tossed with olive oil, and toasted on a baking sheet
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the squash on a baking sheet and toss with maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let it bake in the oven until soft, about 1 hour. Remove and place in a bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth.
Caramelized Onions: Makes about 1 cup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups thinly slice yellow onion
¼ teaspoon herbes de Provence, crumbled
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
In a large, heavy skillet over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, herbes de Provence, sugar and salt. Cover and cook stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and juicy, about 30 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion juices have evaporated, 10-15 minutes. Add a bit of water if the onions dry out. Raise the heat slightly and cook, stirring often, until onions are lightly and evenly browned, another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Stir the onions into the squash and mix well until combined.
To assemble, spread ricotta onto bread and top with squash mixture. Serve immediately.