I think this is the appropriate moment to thank Katie and Luisa for introducing me to Fuchsia Dunlop. I love to think of myself as someone who is into reading food writing but honestly, I don't really know all the great food writers everyone else seems to know. Expect for M. F. K. Fisher, whom I just adore, I have not read any of the classics and I also don't know the more recent writers.
So I have never ever heard of Fuchsia Dunlop before reading Katie's post a while ago (which made me turn to amazon and order her most recent book Every Grain of Rice)
Dunlop really is a wonderful writer, and as Luisa pointed out in her post about one of Dunlops recipes, she can make stinky fermented tofu and slippery sea urchins sound so intriguing you want to run out to buy everything you need to make these dishes.
And ever since receiving the book, I can't seem to stop myself from trying her recipes or just infusing just about anything with Chinese flavours. And that eventhough I haven't done much Chinese cooking so far, but her book shows such a different kind of Chinese cuisine than what I am used to from Chinese restaurants here.
Today I made her mapo dofou recipe, which you can find at the guardian and this delicata squash to go with it. I have actually never bought Delicata squash before, but now that I tried it, I don't think I'll ever turn back. I love its delicate sweetness and the fact that you don't have to peel it. Yay. Just cut it into slices, remove the seeds, brush a little olive oil on the slices and throw them in the oven.
Once roasted, I just topped it of with a sprinkle of Szechuan pepper a drizzle of Chinkiang vinegar and chili oil and some finely sliced scallions. And then I ate almost all of the squash myself, leaving only a few slices to Michael who got home from university later.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Chinese Flavours
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Slice a delicata squash into rounds and remove the seeds. Brush the sices with a mixture of 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp sesame oil. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the squash is browned in places and tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle 1/2 tsp roasted, ground szechuan pepper on top, then drizzle on 1 tbsp of Chinkiang vinegar and 2 tsp szechuanese chili oil. Finely slice the green part of a scallion and scatter over the squah.
For the chili oil, you can buy chinese chili oil, but it is hotter than szechuanese chili oil (so you might want to use less) or follow Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe here.