If I had to pick one vegetable to associate with fall, it’s definitely going to be pumpkin. Apart from turning it into soup or a nutty risotto, I’ve been obsessed with pumpkin steaks. They’re easily made and full of vitamins A and C, iron and folic acid. They’re an easy and quick path to a pretty dish and it’s quite budget-friendly. Pumpkin steaks can be made from Hokkaido pumpkin or butternut squash, but I preferred the steaks made from Hokkaido over the ones made from butternut squash, because of their richer flavor. The slices made from butternut squash will however be more even, and thus prettier – which is what you want when guests are coming over.
I find these beauties go along quite well with a brightly coloured carrot salad made from carrots of different colors. If you can get them, my husband brought these home from the organic supermarket on the other side of town. (Making carrot salad is so much more fun with a kitchen machine, I swear!)And purple rice. Purple rice, you ask? Well, I wandered into a new supermarket after my hairdresser’s appointment a few weeks ago. They had all sorts of fancy rice in tiny bags dispersed among several wicker baskets, but no price. I got curious and inquired. The clerk told me the bag ran at about five Euro, and then added, that I was buying something “very special” (kind of eying the clerk next to him, implying that I would be really stupid to let this offer go). How can you say no? Even if it’s clearly sales strategy and it was kind of rude… This foodie can’t! I! need! to! know! what! it’s! like! So that’s how purple rice came into my kitchen. Ok, and now you’re wondering what it tastes like? Well, it’s basically basmati rice dyed with red beet juice. Taste-wise, I think it is a bit on the side of winter spices, which is why the second time around I made it with some fried up pieces of onion, some pine nuts, aniseed and cloves, sort of like Turkish pilaf. It was a nice experiment and if I ever am in need of a particularly colorful dish, I will keep the existence of this product in mind.
½ butternut squash or Hokkaido pumpkin
1 egg (whole; for a vegan option substitute for a thick mass of water and gluten-free flour)
3/4 cup universal gluten-free flour (I used Schaer Farine, but plain super fine rice flour also works really well)
salt and pepper
Peel the butternut squash or Hokkaido pumpkin.Cut pumpkin into slices of similar shape and thickness. Arrange two plates. Beat the egg into the first plate, adding a bit of salt and pepper. (For a vegan option, run pumpkin slices through the water-flour mix and then pat down with dry flour) Place a good batch of gluten-free flour into the second plate.
Now, one slice at a time, run your pumpkin steaks through the egg and then through the flour, ensuring to pat the flour onto your steak with a bit of pressure by your hands.Heat vegetable oil in a large pan, and place the steaks into the hot oil, leaving sufficient space between them. Fry the pumpkin steaks for about seven minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy. When cooked, drain the pumpkin steaks of any surplus fat by placing them on a paper kitchen towel. Serve hot!