Two strikes. 1


Photography by Matt Hocking

Photography by Matt Hocking

The Red Sox and the Nats are done for the season so my couch viewing of at-bats has declined significantly. However, I still managed to strike out twice yesterday…

I came up with a new recipe this week in #testkitchen (which takes place on Tuesday nights starting at 7:00PM. You can follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.). I was working through a Halloween menu and, inspired by the lingering warm weather this Fall, decided to turn a pumpkin into a potato-like salad.

My husband hates mayonnaise — which does sound kind of gross with pumpkin — so I skipped right to a vinaigrette of Sherry vinegar and grainy mustard with a little maple syrup.

I asked the folks following along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram whether I should go sweet or salty. “Salty!” was their resounding response, so we tasted the dressed pumpkin with both capers and Castelvetrano olives (a wonderfully mild and fruity, light green olive  that is absolutely miserable to try and remove from the pit). The effort was well worth it. Pumpkin, it turns out, is delicious with both the sharp, fresh briny flavor of capers and these sweet, earthy olives.

Delighted with this delicious and innovative new dish I told my best friend Sandy about it. “I hate capers. And olives,” she said. I told her that we could no longer be friends and hung up. (Not really. She will always be my best friend. She knows too much.)

A few minutes after hanging up the phone, I walked into a bar to meet my husband for a drink. He was chatting with Mike, an out of town visitor from New Mexico, who said, “I know who you are! I follow you on Facebook.”

I was so excited that I told Mike about the pumpkin salad. Mike said, “I hate capers. And olives. My boyfriend nearly broke up with me over it.” I suggested that sweet, fruity and mild Castelvetrano olives could save their relationship.

So, is there anyone out there who is excited about the idea of a pumpkin salad, and loves capers and Castelvetrano olives? Feel free to give me a call. I’d love to tell you about this dish because I think I knocked one out of the park and I’m not ready for my season to end just yet.

Pumpkin (Not Potato) Salad

Serves 6

This eats like a potato salad — rich and creamy with the perfect kick from sweet, fruity Castelvetrano olives and bright, briny capers.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups pumpkin peeled and cut in 1” cubes
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs grainy mustard
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup Sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted, chopped Castelvetrano olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped capers
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Directions:

  • Set steamer basket in a 3-4 quart sauce pot with water. Water should come to just below the basket.
  • Add pumpkin, tun heat to high and steam until pumpkin pieces can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife without splitting.
  • Transfer to a large bowl filled with half ice and half water (also known as an ice bath) to stop cooking and prevent pumpkin from getting mushy. Drain when cool.
  • Combine cooked pumpkin and onion in a large bowl.
  • Make dressing: sprinkle minced garlic with coarse salt and mash into a paste with the flat side of your knife. Whisk in mustard, maple syrup and Sherry vinegar. Season with pepper.
  • Drizzle in oil, while whisking, to form a creamy emulsion.
  • Toss pumpkin and onions with dressing. Add and toss through olives, capers and parsley.
  • Season to taste with more salt or pepper, and more mustard or vinegar if the salad needs a little kick.

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