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Grilled Kabocha Squash
With Mint-Pomegranate Pesto
Here, we roast the kabocha until it’s softened, and then slap it in a grill pan to char the edges. If you make the pesto in advance, this is very easy to pull together. Executive Chef Juan Hernandez suggests serving the grilled kabocha squash with beef, such as a ribeye or roast beef, turkey, or chicken.
Grilled Kabocha Squash with Mint-Pomegranate Pesto
From Gjelina: Cooking From Venice, California (Chronicle Books)
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
1 kabocha or red kuri squash, halved across the equator and seeded
¼ cup [60 ml] water
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup [120 ml] Mint-Pomegranate Pesto (see below)
Flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425°F [220°C].
Put the squash halves, cut-side down, in a large roasting pan. Add the water, cover with aluminum foil, and roast until the squash has softened, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the squash to a platter or cutting board to cool. Cut the cooled halves into thirds. (Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)
Heat a large grill pan over high heat.
Drizzle the squash pieces with the olive oil, turning to coat, and season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook the squash pieces until well charred, about 5 minutes. Resist the urge to meddle. The pieces will release easily from the pan once they begin to blacken. Turn the pieces over and cook the other side until charred, 3 to 4 minutes longer.
Transfer to a serving platter, spoon the pesto on top, and season with sea salt. Serve warm.
Makes 1½ cups [300 g]
1 cup [30 g] chopped fresh mint
⅓ cup [55 g] pomegranate seeds
1 Tbsp minced shallot
1 cup [240 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
1 garlic clove
In a small bowl, combine the mint, pomegranate seeds, shallot, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, Parmesan and lime zest. Using a Microplane grater, grate the garlic into the mixture, stir to combine, and season with salt. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature, and stir in the lime juice just before serving.
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