Monday, August 09, 2010

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

On the way home from dropping my son at camp this weekend, we stopped at a farm stand at the side of the road and found these beautiful pattypan squash for only 50 cents/apiece. I usually find much smaller versions of pattypan squash at the market; these bigger specimens were begging to be stuffed.

Inspired by a recipe of Laura Calder's that I saw on TV over the weekend, I thought it would be nice to combine the smokiness of bacon, the bitterness of swiss chard, the saltiness of almonds, and the sweetness of raisins in a soft, custardy filling. An (almost) meatless Monday. With a warm baguette, a full, delicious meal.

Stuffed Pattypan Squash
4 large pattypan squash
5 slices bacon, chopped
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 bunch swiss chard, leaves cut away from stems and chopped, stems chopped
1/2 cup raisins
3 eggs
1/2 cup crème fraiche
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tops off of the squash and use a melon baller to scrap out the inside, creating a space for the stuffing. Rub the insides and the tops of the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper the squash, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saute pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside on a paper towel to drain; in the reserved bacon fat, saute the shallots until translucent; add the chopped swiss chard stems and cook until partially softened. Add the chopped leaves of chard and cook until wilted. In a small saucepan, toast the almonds until lightly browned. Combine the cooked chard/shallots, bacon, almonds, and raisins. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and add the crème fraiche; salt and pepper to taste.

Now for the excitement. Stuff the parbaked squash with the chard/bacon/almond mixture. Pour the custard/egg mixture into each squash, dividing among each. Top each squash with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until squash is cooked through, custard is set, and cheese is melted and beginning to brown on top. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve.