A week ago, I spent the day in Santa Barbara, gluttonously seeing four movies in a row. I went primarily for the Santa Barbara Film Festival, but, thanks to magical timing, I got the added bonus of the incredible Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market. In the middle of a downtown parking lot, I met a stranger, sitting alone on a table under a tent. While I chatted with a man from McGrath Farms about fava beans, fresh vs. dried, this gorgeous guy caught my eye. He had a mysterious, exotic air about him, like a belly dancer with veiled eyes and swirling hips, and I just HAD to know him. I took a deep breath, smoothed my crazy Butterfly Beach hair and approached slowly. His name was Kuri — Kuri Squash, to be exact — and he was lovely.
I could hardly wait to bring him home with me. I asked where this little guy came from and how one might cook him, etc., but the only answer I got was “I just picked them this morning.” SOLD.
I brought the little man into my kitchen and just did what any self-respecting, demure, blonde-headed girl would do — I grabbed my cleaver. I cut the squash into six triangle-ish chunks, scooped out the seeds and did literally NOTHING else to prep them. I put them, cut sides down on a sheet of foil on a cookie sheet (why set yourself up for a major clean-up, huh?) and threw them into a 375• oven. I turned on Project Runway All Stars and waited . . . and waited . . . and was rewarded, after about 20 minutes, with the roasty-toasty smell of nuts and honey and childhood wafting out of the oven. When I pulled them out, they looked like this:
Nothing spectacular to look at, I know. I scooped the warm, caramel-colored flesh out of the shell, and SHAZAM — best squash ever. The texture was similar to freshly roasted chestnuts, and the flavor was nutty and rich with a little bit of sweetness. There’s also a meaty quality about this squash, which gave me the idea to include it in a veggie burger. It gives great body, density and a just a hint of creaminess to any bean-based burger. It would also be fantastic inside homemade ravioli or smashed into mashed potatoes or pureed with a bit of broth and sauteed aromatics and ginger into soup, maybe finished with a touch of cream. I suppose when I cook for other people, I’ll go all jazzy with my Kuri. But today, when it’s just li’l ole me, I’ll enjoy this guy au natural — perfectly roasted with a little sprinkle of fancy salt. In my experience, the really good guys are fantastic without all the fuss.
This is the most spectacular, exciting and purely delicious description of squash that I have ever read. Can’t wait to get my hands on Kuri Squash, but I believe I will have to order it from far away places since I have never, ever seen it in a market in Oklahoma. Thank you, Meg, for posting such tempting information on what appears to be a most beguiling food source.
My fav way to do any squash these days is to roast it whole…usually one hour….You can easily cut in to it….and, I think, the flavor is even more intense. I usually scoop out the seeds, etc, clean the seeds, then roast them with some salt for an extra treat…..I will keep my eye out for these guys…I am not a veggie head, but, I do enjoy at least one veggie meal a week…even more in summer… I got a weekly market share last year, delivered with my local dairy order… YUMMMY….Your blogs are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!