Pumpkins are definitely the main stars of any Halloween dinner parties. From savoury soups to sweet treats you can find plenty of ways to use up this golden squash. The chef Valentina Harris shares with us a spicy and yet easy to make recipe from Calabria, a southern Italian region, famous for its hearty food.
Zucca Gialla Alla Calabrese (Calabrese Pumpkin With Mint And Capers)
This dish is almost a salad, and it is really very good when served with cold meats, especially cold roast beef. Such an orginal treat for your guests, this recipe calls for the bright yellow fleshed variety that holds its shape and can thus be fried easily without falling apart.
Serves 6 to 8
- 750 g dense fleshed yellow pumpkin, peeled and seeded
- 4 tablespoons coarse sea salt
- 1/2 litre sunflower seed oil
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and chopped finely
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into slivers
- 5 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 tsp chopped dried red chilli
- 8 tbsp fine dry bread crumbs
- Slice the pumpkin evenly to a tickness of about 11/2 cm and arrange it all in a colander, sprinkled with salt. Put a weight on top and leave it to drain for about 1 hour.
- Rinse and dry the pumpkin slices carefully.
- Heat the oil until a small piece of bread dropped into it sizzles instantly.
- Fry the pumpkin for about 4 minutes on either side, then drain it very carefully on kitchen paper.
- Mix the oil and vinegar with the capers, garlic, mint, chilli and half the bread crumbs.
- Arrange half the pumpkin in a layer in a wide dish and cover with half the dressing.
- Cover with another layer of pumpkin, then cover with the remaining dressing.
- Press down firmly with your hands and coat with the remaining bread crumbs. Leave to stand for 1 hour before serving
Hints and tips: Make sure the red wine vinegar is really strong to give the dish plenty of sharpness, which cuts the sweetness of the pumpkin.