Saturday, September 18, 2010

Zucca all'agrodolce

The Sicilian kitchen has many influences from different cultures. There are a lot of dishes with ingredients and flavours that are remains of the Byzantine and Arabic past of the island. As for instance this sweet and sour pumpkin.

This dish was part of my antipasti variations of last Sunday's menu. I was a bit anxious about it at first because it has such a special taste. I don't consider myself an expert when it comes to seasoning dishes, especially with dishes that have unusual flavours. I prepared it around noon and I kept trying bites from it during the whole afternoon in order to decide whether it was ok and whether I should really serve it or not. I think I ate about half of it beforehand :-)

My guests really liked it and I too, was happy with the outcome in the end. This dish is something else for a change. And I just looove the colour of the pumpkin. Look at that...

(from: Ursula Ferrigno - VegItalia)

1kg pumpkin, peeled and pitted
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon sugar
1 handful of mint leaves, chopped
1 pinch of cinnamon
8 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
black pepper

Cut the pumpkin into dices of about 1cm. Roast in a frying pan in olive oil together with the garlic clove for about 3 minutes. Take the garlic clove out of the pan as soon as it begins to change colour.

Take the pumpkin dices out of the pan and pour onto paper towels so that the oil might drain. Pour the pumpkin dices into the pan again and reduce the heat.

Add sugar, mint and cinnamon. Mix well, pour white wine vinegar over it and season with pepper (I also added a little salt). Cover the pan and let the vinegar vaporize.

Serve warm or cold. I served it cold because in Italy, many dishes of this kind are served cold. However, I warmed the leftovers up for dinner the next day and I think it's better if served warm.

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