Surf in the morning and ski at sunset. Ahhh, California, you have it all—summer and winter when you want them. And so it is in our West Coast TakeHome cases this week. A special edition squash: the Potimarron from Baia Nicchia Farm & Nursery (Alameda county). Except this is Potimarron Jeune, or young Potimarron. The Potimarron is a winter squash, which left to grow will mature into a delicious vermillion hard-shelled squash. Picked early, this soft, yellow, pear-shaped squash has tons of flavor and makes great summer dishes. "The flesh is fine grained, yet durable, and the whole fruit is uniformly sweet and devoid of bitterness," remarks grower Fred Hemple on their blog.
The squash was discovered by Fred and his partner when filling an order for summer squash. They were running a little short of zucchini and patty pans and strayed into the winter squash field where they discovered the Potimarron Jeune. Its great chestnut-like flavor has Bay Area chefs clamoring for them like free ski lift tickets. The Potimarron comes from France via Seed Savers, an heirloom seed exchange. Its name is a combination of the French potiron (pumpkin) and marron (chestnut). It is a Kobocha-type squash that Fred suspects descends from the Red Kuri squash.
Baia Nicchia grows unique vegetables and develops special varieties that they feel demonstrate great flavor.
Preparation: With its chestnut overtones, Potimarron Jeune is excellent for soup, pureed, or roasted and served hot or cold. Just cut in half, scoop out seed, dab cut side with oil and roast in oven, or grill, open side down.
Storage: Store in the crispers section of the fridge as you would zucchini. Use as soon as possible for maximum flavor.