Saturday, 1 December 2012

Cascas abobrinhas fritas, pintado com alecrim

Rosemary speckled butternut squash  crisps
Nothing gets wasted in our house. It all stems from my mother´s insistence on teaching me to use every last morsel. The term "waste not want not" probably originates in Yorkshire and means exactly what it says, never wasting anything results in never wanting anything, so when you are cooking make the most of  everything you´ve got. Watching a recent episode of Nigel Slater´s "Dish of the Day" I was interested to see him tackle this very issue.His dish of the day was butternut squash soup.When he prepared the butternut squash he retained the peelings and used them to make butternut crisps.This idea really appealed to me.
Like the potato, butternut squash provides an abundance of vitamins and nutrients known for preventing a wide variety of diseases. Its deep, golden colour gives us an indication that it is packed with beta carotenes, an important antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of a number of life-threatening conditions.In the past, potato skins were peeled prior to cooking with the idea that the potato would be cleaner, and therefore healthier; however, it has been discovered that leaving the potato skins intact can add nutrients to a meal. This is fortuitous because I just happen to love potato skins, I eat them skin and all every time we have baked potatoes. My grandmother used to freak saying that the outside of the potato was very dirty, no matter how hard you wash it. " If it comes from the shop there's no way you can get it clean!" Anyway, I haven't died yet so either the skin isn't deadly or the toxins are in very small amounts... 
Yesterday when I made butternut squash soup,  ( my recipe not Mr Slater´s) I thriftily kept the peeled strips and followed his recipe for rosemary speckled butternut squash crisps, and delicious they were too.I even think they could be jazzed up a notch or two by sprinkling them with a grating of Parmesan and some Flor de Sal crystals...next time.

Here is how its done: 
Peel the butternut squash and reserve the long strips of skin.Heat the oven to 150C/280F/gas mark 1.Place the reserved butternut peelings on a roasting tray and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a few drops of sherry vinegar and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary.Put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes on a low heat to crisp up.Remove the crisps from the oven and place them on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.At this point if you feel inclined you can also sprinkle them with some parmesan and Flor de Sal.I then put them back in the oven with the oven switched off to further crispen up for about an hour.

... and finally if you have any soup left over Mr Slater suggests adding it to a risotto -I did and it was a triumph.

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