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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Your Seasonal Produce Guide: Kabocha Squash

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM

  • Marla Simon

A new weekly series on what to do with your farmers' market impulse buys and CSA box surprises.

Kabocha (pronounced kah-BOH-cha) squash is a hard-skinned winter squash, sometimes called "Japanese pumpkin," with a distinctive striated dark green appearance. It is traditionally available during the fall and winter months, but can be found throughout the year in California. The flesh has a sweet, rich flavor that resembles a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin.

How do I know I have a good one? When buying kabocha squash, look for dull, hard skin and a dried-out stem. It should feel heavy. Rough, dry knots on the outside of the skin are okay, as long as the skin isn't pierced or bruised.

How do I cook it? Kabocha squash can be served roasted, steamed, pureed in a soup, tempura fried, or simmered in a Thai red curry. To roast a kabocha, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices, toss with oil, and cook, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through. The skin is edible. The seeds can be removed from the pulp, cleaned, dried overnight and toasted like pumpkin seeds. Roasted kobacha is delicious side dish to serve alongside pork tenderloin with an arugula salad. Hint: garnish the salad with the toasted seeds.

Marla Simon is a San Francisco-based chef, food stylist, and food writer.

Follow her on twitter at @Marla_Simon

Follow us at: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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