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.
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.
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.
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.
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.