Kabocha hors d’oeuvres three ways カボチャのオードブル三種類

japanese cake
I found a rather good looking Japanese winter squash “kobocha” being sold as a “butter cup” squash in a near-by grocery store. I do not think this is a “butter cup” squash since the “cup” on the blossom end is not present but I do think this is a Japanse “Kabocha”. In any case, I could not resist buying one. So I ended up with a rather large amount of kabocha. After I made my usual simmered kabocha かぼちゃの煮物 and pottage かぼちゃのポタージュ, I still had at least 1/3 of the kabocha left. I thought about making kabocha tempra etc but settled on these three quick dishes.

Kabocha and oninon with red miso sauce かぼちゃとタマネギのしぎ焼き

I was supposed to make this dish using a small Italian eggplant that I thought I had in the refrigerator. “Shigi-yaki” usually uses an eggplant braised in a sweet red miso sauce. I thought I would use Kabocha to accompany the eggplant–the kabocha should not have been the main ingredients of “shigi-yaki” dish. But as I was cutting the egg plant, it became obvious that this one had had a better day and I had to discard it. So, out of necessity, I came up with this dish. The sauce is a mixture of 1 part red miso, 1 part mirin, one part sugar and Japanese seven flavored pepper powder 七味唐辛子. This time, I used sake as well (instead of 1 part mirin, I used a mixture of sake and mirin) to make this dish not too sweet. I sauteed thinly cut (1/4 inch) kabocha pieces in light olive oil until slightly brown on both sides. I put the lid on the pan, turned down the heat and cooked for 4-5 minutes or until the kabocha is soft. I then added one onioun thinly sliced ( the proportion of onion to Kabocha is arbitrary) for few more minutes until soft. Then I added enough mixed sauce to coat all the ingredients. I braised until the sauce thickened and coated the ingredients. Although, this dish was not how I planned it initially, it turned out OK. Nutty sweet miso sauce was a good match to kabocha. We had this with a good everyday California Cab, Ghost pine 2007.  It was bit surprising that sweet miso and kabocha flavors go very well with red wine.

Broiled Kabocha with Raclette cheese かぼちゃとラクレットチーズ

Broiled Kabocha with Parmegian cheese and panko かぼちゃとパルメザンチーズ

These are also a spur-of-the-moment type dish. I cut the kabocha into slices 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick, 2-3 inch wide and sauteed them similarly to the previous dish until soft. (I suppose one can do this step in a microwave oven.) It needed to cook a bit longer than the “shigi-yaki” dish since the pieces were thicker. (I did this when I made the first dish) and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Just before serving, I put these kabocha pieces on a cookie sheet (small one which fits into my toaster oven); Some were topped with slices of raclette cheese (left two) and others (right three) were topped with a mixture of panko (mixed with bit of good oilve oil) and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about half and half) and baked in the 450F toaster oven for few minutes until the raclette cheese melts and Panko-Parmesian becomes golden brown.


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