Turk’s Turban: Two Tender Ways

Armed with one of last year’s crop of Turk’s Turban squashes, I turned to a page in Nigel Slater’s wonderful book, Tender Volume 1: a delicious volume of recipes, anecdotes and advice, which celebrates growing and cooking vegetables.

Two squash/pumpkin recipes from Nigel Slater's Tender vol. 1

I peeled and cut up our golden fruit (which weighed in at a reasonable 2kg) and dispatched the pieces to one of two recipes which share a page, each of which suggests 1kg of pumpkin or squash.

Turk's Turban squash: whole, cut, chopped and baked

Upon cutting into this beautiful fruit – our first sample from our first year growing this variety, and worth it, I believe, for its decorative qualities alone – the flesh was pale and golden. It did not assail me with the sweet scent of melon that comes from the flesh of the steely-skinned Crown Prince that we grew last year, or the lovely dark warty green Marina di Chioggia, which I made into a simple ginger and chilli soup for the family just before Christmas.

The first half of this fruit I diced into small cubes and prepared for the ‘Simple Baked Pumpkin’ dish, which I baked for almost an hour: the result was crisp on the outside, meltingly soft on the inside, and yielded a delicious combination of garlic and herbs with the sweet flavour of the squash itself. My first taste of this variety, and I was utterly hooked.

Preparing Turks Turban pangrattato with rosemary and orange, a Nigel Slater recipe

The remains of our squash was cut into slightly larger pieces, and transformed into ‘A pumpkin pangrattato with rosemary and orange’ .

I cannot fully do justice to the wonder of this relatively simple recipe: the combination of flavours – sweet, herby and spicy; of textures – crispy golden breadcrumbs with soft honeyed squash. Utterly beautiful, and a wonderful way to enjoy produce from our garden – fresh herbs and stored squash, garlic and chillies.

pumpkin pangrattato with orange and rosemary, Nigel Slater recipe

If you do not own this book, I urge you to do so for the sake of these recipes alone. I look forward to trying many more, and am already eyeing up the remaining Turk’s Turban fruits that are sitting in a cool cupboard.


20 thoughts on “Turk’s Turban: Two Tender Ways

  1. The recipe sounds great – I already have these two books, which I have read, but not tried any recipes yet. My squash didn’t do very well this year so I haven’t been able to experiment and only made soup with what pitiful squashes I had. Hopefully they will do better this year and I will certainly give these recipes a go.

    • I’ve had this volume for a year, and intended to read it cover-to-cover before using the recipes, but having not found the chance to read it and savour his writing yet, I found myself diving in for a squash recipe (or two) instead. It’s rather big and heavy for casual reading, but I should definitely make the effort.
      Last year was a terrible year for squashes: our Crown Prince didn’t make it at all, so we’re lucky to have harvested what we did.

  2. Looks absolutely wonderful, squash isn’t something I plan to grow this year but maybe next year. Note made of the ‘Turks Turban’ – thanks.

    • They do take up a lot of space, but I suppose that’s not such an issue for you! I would recommend Crown Prince too; they are beautiful, grow to a good size, and taste (and smell!) wonderful also. Trying some new ones again this year, though probably only one plant of each…

    • This is the first of his books that I’ve owned. It was rather awkward to prop open: being so large, it didn’t fit in our bookstand very well, but the result was definitely worth the struggle :). I do enjoy his writing, so evocative, firing up the imagination – and the taste buds!

  3. I remember us discussing Turk’s Turban before, annd I said I had hear that its value was primarily ornamental rather than culinary, but you have clearly disproved that, We have the Tender book too (as well as Part 2), and have found it very inspirational.

    • I remember that. This was the first sampling of one of our Turk’s Turbans, and although I was a little surprised it didn’t have the sweet melon scent, the taste was definitely worth it. A lovely book too, must get the second part…

  4. Sounds delicious, I am always keen to find new squash recipes as I struggle after a while with what to do with ours. Turk’s Turban is by far my favourite variety so I’m glad you have also found it to be good. Bethx

    • Thanks Beth, I think it was seeing your beautiful TTs a couple of years ago that inspired me to try them last year! Beautiful and tasty; definitely a crop worth growing.

  5. Have just found my way to your blog and my mouth is already watering thinking of those dishes-must give the pumpkin pangrattato with rosemary and orange a go. Really envious you can grow pumpkin and squash-mine were a complete disaster last year…

    • Hello, and thank you for stopping by. My mouth waters at the memory of both dishes too! Definitely recommend them both. Last year was a terrible year for squashes – our pumpkins came to nothing, the Cornells Bush Delicata gave just one tiny tastless fruit, and the Crown Prince failed to get going. But we were lucky to harvest a few Turk’s Turbans and Marina di Chioggia somehow.

      • I made the pumpkin pangrattato with rosemary and orange for today’s lunch-absolutely fantastic!! So easy to make and the flavours as you promised were outstanding! Thank you so much for putting me on to this scrumptious dish. We will definitely be having this one regularly now…

  6. Mmmmmmm – now that looks and sounds seriously delicious! I have both books but have still to do them justice – so much information in them – not just the delicious recipes but his observations on edible crops too. I have tried and tested quite a few from his ‘Real Fast Food’ ~ a real godsend when I was still working 🙂

    • Yes I’ve had this book for over a year, and this was the first time I’ve really got around to trying a recipe – I still need to read it properly too, to really appreciate his lovely prose, on growing and cooking. Might have to branch out into some of his other books too, for quicker after-work meals…

  7. I also thought Turk’s Turban were only ornamental, I’ll definately try them, despite the space if you say they taste good, although I’m not a great fan of squash. I used to grow butternut squash very sucessfully in the UK, I have tried any here yet. Christina

    • It’s always good to find a crop that tastes as good as it looks! I was a little sceptical when the flesh didn’t have the characteristic sweet melon scent of other tasty squashes that we’ve grown, but they surprised me by tasting great. They’re on our list again next year, it’s nearly time for me to fight for space for our squashes again in the vegetable patch! We’re going to try butternut squash again this year too, though previously we’ve only managed to produce very small fruit. I love squash.

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