Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pattypan, pattypan ...

... this unbaker
is not a man,

a squash,
as fast as she can,

Scoop it,
and blend it,
and season it
to a tee,

And fill it up high
for me to eat"

If you haven't caught on yet, those lines were meant to go to the tune of a childhood nursery rhyme. You know, "Pattycake, Pattycake."

Anyway, it was the first thing that came to mind after making this dish, especially since I served it in a pattypan squash. I once mistakenly called it a pattycake squash, which made me think of this rhyme.

My good buddy Rawbin had given me two of them from her CSA bounty, so I thought I should dress them up right. Now I could've given them this basic pizza treatment, similar to when I use zucchini as a French bread-style version, but instead opted to do something a little more festive.

In the past, I've seen pattypans used as serving bowls for soup, as well as filled with creamed spinach, something I've always loved. However, it seemed like such a waste of perfectly good cream-colored squash flesh to stuff these little gems with something other than squash.

So, I used the inside of mine to create a not only dairy-free, but also nut and seed-free version of this classic dish. Check it out:

Pattypan Spinach

Large handfuls
of fresh baby spinach
2 patty pan squash
1 Tbsp. EVOO,
plus extra for drizzling
Few squeezes of lemon juice
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 small clove of garlic
Dash of cayenne
Freshly grated nutmeg
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Run a knife through some fresh baby spinach and add it to a bowl (keep in mind that the amount you put in the bowl will reduce substantially in the next step). Drizzle it with a little EVOO, a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper. Scrunch it with your hands and set aside to "cook" while you prepare the squash.

Slice the tops off of both squash as you would a pumpkin when making a jack-o-lantern. Then, with a melon-baller, scoop out the insides and add it to a high-speed blender, along with 1 Tbsp. EVOO, some lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, cayenne, nutmeg, sea salt and pepper, to taste. Blend until smooth.

By hand, mix in the wilted/"cooked" spinach. Fill the hollowed squash with this mixture and top with some more fresh ground pepper and nutmeg.

This makes a beautiful presentation for the creamed spinach or for the "cream" by itself, which would be a lovely soup at a dinner party (you would have to make more than two, of course). As always, enjoy!