Matthew Kenney’s Butternut Squash Carpaccio
This is a perfect dish to serve as an appetizer for a crowd, so feel free to double or triple the recipe if you are feeding a lot of people. Mostly, we don’t use winter squashes raw, or even think to, but thinly sliced butternut is a delicacy. It is well balanced here with pureéd quince, which is a flavor not to be missed. The quince is cooked down and blended with lemon peel for a vibrant element.
Finally, the star of the show in this recipe are the candied pepitas, and I suggest making enough for snacking purposes as well since they are the ideal combination of protein and sugar to lift your mood and energy throughout the holiday season. The dehydrated olives are another favorite of mine, and something we also use in our popular raw cacio e pepe which we serve at several of our restaurants around the world.
For the pepitas, if you don't have a candy thermometer, don’t fret. You can eyeball the candy process as long as you make sure that everything is being constantly stirred and never clumping too much. Each element of this dish is something you can reuse in other dishes. As always, feel free to get creative with your assembly and plating, substitute ingredients, and make it your own. Quince Purée. Pickled Mustard Seeds. Candied Pepitas. Apple.
Butternut Squash Carpaccio
- 1 pound butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 sprigs lemon thyme
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup quince, peeled and chopped
- 2 slices/shaves of lemon peel
- 1 vanilla pod, split 12 sprigs of lemon thyme, wrapped and tied in cheesecloth
- 1 cup cane sugar
PICKLED MUSTARD SEEDS:
- 1⁄2 cup brown mustard seeds, whole
- 1⁄2 cup yellow mustard seeds, whole
- 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar 1⁄2 cup agave
- 1⁄2 cup water, filtered
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 1⁄4 cups pumpkin seeds
- 1⁄2 cup filtered water
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, small dice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2–3 kumquats, seeded and sliced
- 1 small Chioggia beet, thinly sliced on a mandoline
- 1⁄4 cup black cured olives
- Herbs (chervil and mint recommended)
- Coriander flowers
- Flake salt
FOR THE BUTTERNUT CARPACCIO:
- Cut the squash right above the bulb where the seeds are stored and reserve the round bottom for another use (not used in this recipe).
- Peel the squash with a peeler and slice into rounds, using a very sharp mandoline slicer.
- Toss the squash with olive oil, thyme, and sea salt.
- Arrange squash rounds into round flower shapes and place them in between parchment paper.
- Store them on a flat sheet pan in the refrig- erator until ready to serve.
FOR THE QUINCE PURÉE:
- Place quince and the remaining ingredients, except the cane sugar, in a saucepan and fill with water, just enough to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Re- move from heat and strain.
- Discard all ingredients except the quince and lemon peel. In a high-speed blender, purée the quince and lemon.
- Place the cane sugar and quince purée in a saucepan and cook on low for 1 hour.
PICKLED MUSTARD SEEDS:
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for about an hour to allow the mustard seeds to bloom.
- Remove half the mixture, blend in a high-speed blender, then pour the blended mixture back into the remaining mixture.
- Let the mixture sit out at room temperature 1–2 days.
FOR THE CANDIED PEPITAS:
- Toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a pan, con- stantly moving the seeds around the pan so they do not burn. Remove from the heat as soon as they begin to brown around the edges.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of a medium saucepan. To en- sure an accurate temperature reading, make sure the candy thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan. Heat the water, cane sugar, and maple syrup over medium high heat. Remember to stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the liquid starts to boil. Stop stirring, increase the heat slightly, and allow the mixture to boil until it reaches 285°F.
- At this point, add the pumpkin seeds to the saucepan and stir continuously, making sure the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan, until the temperature reaches 300°F. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. The baking soda will cause the mixture to bubble slightly. This is expected.
- Working quickly before the liquid begins to harden, pour the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Use the back of a wooden spoon to spread the batter evenly across the sheet. Allow the brittle to completely harden at room tem- perature, about 2 hours. Break the cooled candied pepitas into shards and store in an airtight container at room tempera- ture up to 1 week.
FOR THE APPLE:
- Combine the apple with the lemon juice and salt. Set aside.
FOR THE DEHYDRATED OLIVES:
- Dehydrate at 155°F in a dehydrator or an oven for 12 hours, or until completely dry. Transfer the dehydrated olives to a food processor and pulse a few times until they are roughly chopped.
FOR THE ASSEMBLY:
- Remove squash rounds from parchment paper and place on a large round plate.
- Spoon 51⁄4 teaspoons of quince purée on top of the carpaccio, followed by 51⁄4 teaspoons of pickled mustard seeds.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon candied pepitas, 1 tablespoon of diced apples, and 1⁄2 tablespoon dehydrated olives on top.
- Place thinly sliced kumquats and beets on top. Garnish with chervil, mint, oxalis, coriander flowers, and flake salt.
Calories 360 | Total Fat 18.3g | Saturated Fat 3.3g | Sodium 1393mg | Total Carbohydrate 44.2g | Dietary Fiber 6.8g | Total Sugars 22.1g | Protein 11.5g | Calcium 164mg | Iron 7mg | Potassium 771mg |