Pumpkin season is upon us and even if the calendar says it is still autumn the snow on the hills and the snow makers working hard on Coronet Peak suggest otherwise. I love pumpkin, and was lucky enough this year to have some – grow themselves – from my Bokashi compost in the vegetable garden. Those lush rambling pumpkin plants did a great job of making my neglected garden look as if something purposeful was happening, yielding several pumpkins and smothering a multitude of weeds.
Today Ed is briefly home and so I am hoping these pumpkin crostini will be a welcome step up from his usual hurried travel fare.
These are quick to put together taste delicious, and today they then doubled as a side vegetable/salad for the venison we had for dinner. Happy days!
Fresh sage is one of those herbs that is easy to grow, and holds on through our sometimes harsh winter. Sadly it is also a herb which I struggle to get around to using. It teams so well with pumpkin making it a great winter herb and is also great with pork. This method of frying the leaves renders them absolutely delicious so don’t skip this step if you are lucky enough to have fresh sage available.
I dithered today over whether to use blue vein cheese or the Chevre De Bellay goats cheese, I chose the the blue vein cheese this time as Ed does not enjoy goats cheese, and while the blue vein cheese was amazing I still think that either work. Use what is in your refrigerator or the one that is your favourite – pumpkin and feta / pumpkin and blue cheese, both are delicious combinations.
PUMPKIN CROSTINI / VEGETABLE SIDE DISH OR SALAD
- 1/2 a small pumpkin grated or julienned
- 1 red chilli chopped or finely sliced or red pepper flakes to your taste
- 1 clove sliced finely
- Small bunch of fresh sage leaves
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- Small wedge of your favourite blue cheese crumbled or finely sliced
- Toasted crostini
Heat your smallest pot or frying pan with a good 1/2 cm of olive oil. Once this is moderately hot, briefly saute your sage leaves until crisp – watch carefully as this will not take long – then remove them to a paper towel and lightly sprinkle with salt.
Mix together your pumpkin, garlic, chilli, walnuts and season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large pan add a smear of the oil which you sauted the sage leaves, this will now be lightly infused with flavour from cooking the sage leaves. Heat this to a medium high temperature.
In batches – so as not to over crowd the pan – briefly saute your pumpkin mix. You are wanting it to hopefully get some flecks of browning on the pumpkin and garlic, and for the pumpkin to wilt a little ( but not become too limp ), you still want some texture.
Once off the heat gently fold through the blue cheese.
You can eat this straight away or leave at room temperature until you are ready to serve.
Pile this onto a serving plate or individually onto the crostini and enjoy.
This same mix made a great side to the venison we had for dinner with some spinach folded through and a splash of reduced balsamic vinegar.