I was treated to lunch the other day at an incredible (and very small) sushi restaurant in Beverly Hills. Without a doubt, the best sushi I have ever had. In the midst of this indulgence, this near food-coma I was approaching, I was able to muster up a few thoughts.
Thought 1: this is incredible food
Thought 2: Simplicity wins again
Forgetting about sushi in Beverly Hills for a moment, let’s stop and reflect on what wonderful food is. Balance. Consistency. Flavor. Textures. A lot of other things, but these are the big ones.
I have said previously in my posts that balance is key, don’t do fusion if you aren’t damn sure you know what you’re doing, if it grows together, it goes together; and when in doubt, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t muddle flavors. Don’t get lost in your cooking. Keep an end result in mind and take the least amount of steps to get there.
The sushi I had was simple. True mastery. The chefs knew how to let a few simple ingredients shine. The synergy they produced was astounding!
I would like to share a recipe with you today that also relies on a few very simple ingredients working together in harmony. This is one that will probably be very familiar to a lot of people, and especially to those of you living in or who grew up in New England.
A few simple humble ingredients. A meal to remember.
Roast Butternut Squash with sage, brown sugar and cinnamon
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hr
Yield: 4 portion
2 medium sized butternut squashes, cut in half, seeds removed
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
cracked black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
fresh ground cinnamon (freshly bought)
1 bunch of sage, fine chiffonade
1/2 cup jack daniels whiskey
Heat an oven to 400 degrees. On a foil lined backing pan, arrange the squash halves cut side up. Rub the cut side all over with oil. Season liberally with salt, pepper and cinnamon. In the center where the seeds were, place 1 tbsp butter in each, sprinkle with cinnamon, add about 1 tbsp (or more) brown sugar and a little whiskey.
Roast until completely cooked, about 45 min.
Let cool slightly and scoop out squash meat. In a large saute pan, heat a little oil and add the squash. Put a little color on the squash, reseason and mix in the sage and mascarpone.
Serve right away.
Of course, our dominant flavors are squash, and sage. Roasting this, your house will smell like Christmas, which is a wonderful thing. The cheese helps make it creamy without changing the flavor. The whiskey compliments the spice well and add a touch of smokiness. This is exceptional with brined roast pork (see previous blog http://chefnotebook.blogspot.com/2012/09/brining-roast-pork-loin.html) or sort of deep-flavored roast.