Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

I've been wanting to try this  smitten kitchen recipe for a while, pretty much ever since a web of blog reading lead me to this treasure trove of food porn. However since my last bloody attempt to tame the butternut squash stank up the house for a week and narrowly left me with both thumbs attached I decided to wait until my culinary chops matured a bit before taking another stab/peel at it.

I'm also ashamed to admit I was afraid of fontina cheese. I heard tales of it being called "funky" and I was kind of chicken to find out the hard way exactly what that meant. Especially when I'd use that exact word to describe the flavor of goat cheese which it just so happens I was not warned would taste well... not only funky but goat-y to say the least.

I was almost tempted to skip it completely and swap it out with Asiago which I always seem to have in the fridge for some reason but I decided to be brave and tackle the recipe as written. As it turned out it wasn't that funky at all (edit: although wikipedia informs me that I have the Danish version which is far less intense), cold it just tasted a lot like Gouda or Gruyere, that kind of woody/nutty flavor and melted it just hung out nicely with everything else. Not really shouting from the rooftops that it was there, kind of a 'hey man I'm just here to hang' kind of unassuming nondescript cheese flavor.

Knowing that though I think I might give Fontina a miss in the future and go for a cheaper cheese if it's only really there to hold the veggies together in a mass. It would really depend on if I was in the mood to be fancy or not. I mean sure there are subtleties in pretty much every cheese out there and I guess it does give an otherwise understated dish a certain highbrow tinge but along that same vein, why waste such a fancy cheese on what is basically roasted late fall veggies wrapped in a biscuit? I will however reserve setting an official opinion until I've had it in all it's Italian funky glory.

I'm a fan of sage and butternut squash though. They hang out well together something about the fresh woodsy flavor of the sage leaves with the autumny taste of a winter squash brings to mind crisp afternoons spent crunching around red leaves and the smell of frost and mock oranges. I'm getting really into herbs these days, I think a little herb garden is in my future...

Anyway I'll say I liked it overall, the pastry was a little less buttery tasting than I'd like, but I think that's largely my fault. Being a new cook I tend to be short a few gadgets(i.e. pastry cutter) and usually end up roughing it like the dark ages (using my fingers) and I think somewhere along the way added a little too much flour but that's okay. I still liked it. There was something about it that had a very unique taste, a refreshing change of pace. A little sweet, a little savory, mostly simple with a tiny touch of fancy. It's kind of all over the place really. Just what you need on a early fall day that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be either.

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