by Robert Booz
- FAVORITE COMBINATIONS
- Crushed red pepper and fennel seed
- Five spice and brown sugar or maple
- Black pepper, garlic, and madras curry powder
- Black pepper and nutmeg
- Thyme and Parmesan cheese
- Ginger and cumin
- Salt and pepper
Keep your flavor combinations simple, at least to start, to one or two flavors, to suit your taste. Pumpkin is a bit of a blank canvas, so get to it.
As for cooking these, it’s pretty straightforward. Get a pumpkin; I prefer small pie pumpkins for this, but you can use pretty much any variety or even other winter squashes. As far as size goes, figure on about three slices per person as a side dish. Remove the stem, cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Put the pumpkin cut side down and cut it into wedges about an inch wide at their widest point, like you would a melon. Toss them with your flavoring agents, salt, and a fat to coat: olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, butter, or (my favorite): lard or bacon drippings. Place them skin side down on a baking sheet, so they look like little pumpkin boats, and roast them in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are tender when poked with a fork. If you want to baste them with the fat that runs into the pan halfway through cooking, it doesn’t hurt.