This recipe is inspired by the beautiful kabocha squash found in winter at Jean-Luc Dormoy’s stand at Marché Daumesnil. Mme. Dormoy suggested they use the squash to prepare this simple écrasé, which is similar to a purée, but with hearty chunks of squash allowed to remain. You can use any kind of winter squash that has a dense flesh, but the kabocha squash and its striking bright orange flesh make for a lovely side dish for a winter dinner.
After removing seeds from the squash, cut it into halves and then quarters.
Add squash to a pot and fill with enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil and let cook for 20–25 minutes, until tender. Remove from water (keep the water to the side in case it is needed later). Let squash cool 3–5 minutes, then remove the skin; it should peel off easily after being cooked.
Mash the flesh of the squash with a fork, adding the crème fraîche while mashing. The écrasé should be meaty and thick, just roughly mashed with some chunks remaining. Add spoonfuls of the water if more liquid is needed. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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