How does the season always change without me noticing it? True, I extended Summer a generous 12 days galavanting down to the south of France, but when I came back to London, it surprised me with 30C. Yet one night I went to bed with the windows wide open, light blanket on my bed, and woke up at 4am shivering against a chill in the air. The air smelled snippid, a word made up by cartoon cat Hobbes, with the smell of dried leaves and carried a hint of frosts to come. In the span of 12 hours, the call of squash and apples and pumpkin trumped my desire for tomatoes and cherries.
Today I grabbed a pumpkin with pale green skin. I had never cooked that variety before and I wanted to test the difference. The flesh tastes more delicate and subtle than the pumpkins that I was used to. I think this recipe would serve any squash or pumpkin variety. It works best when you can make the slices very thin, so perhaps choose a variety that isn't horribly difficult to cut, or make sure you have a good sharp knife.
I used Za'atar spice mixed in with this which went very well with the pumpkin, but finely chopped thyme leaves would be lovely as well. I also think Panko breadcrumbs would be best with this, but I had none to hand, so just crushed up some olive oil breadsticks that I found in the organic store. This would be a great side to roast chicken, or grilled pork chops. As a main, you could add rice or quinoa to the filling, and stuff a half of acorn squash. It's been long enough that I welcome the opportunities to make my kitchen cozy by turning on the oven.
Roast Pumpkin with Crunch Breadcrumb Crust
- 1 small pumpkin, sliced into thin slices
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Za'atar
- 1 small handful of coriander (cilantro) chopped finely
- zest of 1 lemon
- Olive oil
- Greek yogurt or sour cream to garnish
- Coriander leaves for a touch of color :)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Slice the pumpkin and lightly coat with olive oil. Lay them flat out on a baking sheet. Mix the breadcrumbs, za'atar, coriander, zest and a generous pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Pat over the pumpkin slices until you have a thick crust.
Slide into the oven. Roast for 30 -40 minutes. Rotate once or twice for even cooking. Serve with roast chicken, and a green salad, preferably on the first real chilly night of the season.
*I keep wanting to write pumpking. Happened every time I typed the word...