After much experimentation, I now have the formula down to perfection:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Wash the outside, but do not peel.
- Cut in half and remove seeds, and turn cut side down.
- Slice crescents, about 1/8" thick. Don't worry too much about the dimension. Try a variety. See if you like them better crisp or soft. The thin ones will crisp up nicely to potato chip consistency while the thick ones will stay moist and pliant. People do not agree on which are best. So, make everyone happy.
- Line baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Brush with about a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
- Lay the crescents on the oil. Lay them in tight, but don't overlap. Brush with some more olive oil. Be generous. There should be some puddles on the baking sheet, but the slices don't need to swim in it.
- With approximate quantities, to your own taste, mix in a small bowl a teaspoon of freshly ground fennel seed, half teaspoon of ground coriander, half teaspoon of garlic powder, teaspoon of oregano, half teaspoon of salt, about 20 grinds of black pepper. Sprinkle over the top of the crescents.
- Put in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
- When the buzzer goes off, go see how they're doing. They're probably not done yet, but you want to get a sense of where they are.
- They're done when most of them have edges that start to crisp up. If you use a spatula and peek underneath, they'll be a nice dark brown. Some may even go into burned territory--that's ok. Last time I did them they took about 25 minutes.
- So go back and check them every five minutes or so. Pull them off before they burn.
- Layer on a deep blue plate. I love the way they look with the orange and the blue. Reminds me of the NY Mets when I was growing up!
The last of my kabocha squash posts was over here at Asian Fling, where I gave proper credit for the recipe that came from Jaimie Oliver by way of Chowhound. But I'm hard pressed to think abou this as Asian anymore, other than the best supply of kabocha squash seems to come from the HMart. They always have them. With the garlic and fennel, it seems more Italian. Probably just inspired American. When I first saw the blend of spices, I did not have high hopes. I tried something different once, with some cumin. And just came running back to this. Let me know if you do further experimenting.
I'm always hesitant to say something is the "best" of anything. But, as of now, I'd say this is the best thing I make. Sweet, salty, a little unctuous with the oil, crisp, deep complex flavor. Perfect finger food. A crowd pleaser. Make a second tray, because the first will go fast. And in the summer, do them on the grill (still use the baking sheet).
So there. My love note to Kabocha squash.
(Note. Most Kabocha squash has a deep green skin, like an acorn squash. This one had an orange skin. Tasted the same, just a different look)