The name of this French heirloom cucurbita maxima is a squashed-together concoction of potiron (pumpkin) and marron (chestnut), but the bottom line is that it’s plenty tasty! Chef Anthony Paone created this recipe our Fall/Winter 2010 issue story, “What Do You Do with a Black Futsu” when he was at Sea Salt, a seafood-forward restaurant formerly on San Pablo in Berkeley. At that time, he was collaborating with Sunol-based farmer/plant breeder Fred Hempel, who was picking some of his winter squash varieties early to see if they could work like summer squash. The first recipe below uses the potimarron while it is young (jeune). The other two are equally adaptable to any matured winter squash you have on hand.
Potimarron Jeune in Tomato Sauce
This recipe is a riff with endless possibilities. Try it with any summer squash variety.
Several potimarron jeune (or summer squash), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces of an oily type fish, such as yellowtail, tuna, sardines, or mackerel
2 cups tomato sauce (arrabiata, puttanesca, or with herbes de Provence)
3 ounces oil-cured olives or a really garlicky aioli
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss the potimarron and eggplant cubes in olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and roast until the cubes have softened and started to brown (about 40 minutes). When they are nearly done, start grilling the fish. Place the tomato sauce in a sauté pan and add the roasted squash and eggplant cubes, stewing them all “à la minute.” Divide the mixture onto 4 serving plates and top each with a piece of grilled fish. Garnish with the olives or aioli.
Potimarron with Almonds, Garlic, and Aleppo Pepper
A good way to use semi-mature potimarron. Even at full maturity, potimarron has a tender skin that does not need to be pared away.
1 potimarron, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups slivered almonds
1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
Pinch Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 lemon, sliced
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss potimarron with olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and roast until the wedges have softened and started to brown (about 40 minutes). Toss almonds and garlic in the canola or grapeseed oil, place over parchment on a baking sheet, and roast until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and toss in a bowl with the salt and Aleppo pepper. When the squash is fully roasted, place on a serving dish and top with the toasted almond mix, a pinch of parsley, and a slice of lemon. Grate some Parmigiano over the top.
Grilled Potimarron with Salsa Verde
This Italian style salsa verde can be made with any combination of herbs. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
1 fully mature potimarron, cut into wedges
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only (about 2 cups), finely chopped
½ bunch mint, leaves only (about ½ cup), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
To make the salsa verde, combine the minced shallot and vinegar in a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. In a food processor, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, anchovies, and capers and process until combined. Add the shallot-and-vinegar mixture. With the machine on, slowly pour in the olive oil until incorporated. Season with salt.
Grill the squash until soft and serve topped with the salsa verde.