blissful eats with tina jeffers: Kabocha squash and ricotta toasts
A few years ago I had the pleasure of dining at ABC Kitchen in New York City. It was one of my most memorable meals I had while visiting the city and the dish that stuck in my mind the most was the squash and ricotta toasts that I had as an appetizer. There is nothing unusual about mashed squash but the addition of maple syrup and apple cider vinegar lends a sweet-tart depth of flavor that I don’t remember ever experiencing. The squash would also make a wonderful side dish on it’s own, perfect for your Thanksgiving table.
Kabocha squash and ricotta toasts
From The New York Times
2 pounds of kabocha or other winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼ inch pieces
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
4 slices country bread, 1-inch thick
½ cup whole-milk ricotta
4 tablespoons fresh mint
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the squash, ¼ cup olive oil, chile flakes, and 1 ½ 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 browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, heat another ¼ cup olive oil over medium –high heat, add the onions and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are well-softened and brown, 15-20 minutes. Add the vinegar and syrup, stir and reduce until syrupy and thick, for another 15 minutes; the mixture should resemble jam.
Combine the squash and onions in a bowl and smash with a fork until well combined. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
Spread the bread on a baking sheet and lightly coat both sides with the
Remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake until crisp and slightly golden brown 5-7 minutes. Spread ricotta on toasts, and then top with the squash mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt and garnish with mint.