As the days grow shorter and the humid summer air gives way to a crisp autumn breeze, the produce in markets is shifting from the vivid hues of summer to the earthy tones of autumn. This week’s find was a giant kabocha pumpkin and some late summer corn which I put together to make this irresistibly colorful salad.
Kabocha literally means “pumpkin” in Japanese and the eponymous gourd has green skin with orange flesh that’s sweet and starchy like a cross between butternut squash and sweet potatoes. This makes them extremely versatile as you can use them like potatoes, or like a squash.
The crisp sweet corn and flavorful kabocha is accented by savory ham and a mild tang from apple cider vinegar, giving this warm salad a fun contrast of textures and tastes that will have you reaching for the next bite. It comes together in one pan in about 7 minutes, which makes it a fantastic side for you fall table, and it keeps well in the fridge for a couple days making it a great make-ahead dish for an autumn potluck or party (just be sure to hold off on the chives until you’re ready to serve it).
Corn and Kabocha Salad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10.6 ounces kabocha pumpkin (peeled, seeded and cubed)
- 8.8 ounces corn (1 ear, kernels removed from cob)
- 2.8 ounces ham
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- white pepper (to taste)
- chives (chopped, for garnish)
- Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and kabocha in a single layer. Fry the kabocha on one side until browned and then flip and brown the other side.
- Add the corn, ham, and salt. Toss to distribute evenly.
- Add the white wine and cover immediately with a lid. Turn down the heat to medium-low and steam the kabocha for 5 minutes (or until it is tender).
- Remove the lid and turn up the heat to burn off any remaining wine.
- Drizzle the apple cider vinegar on top and toss to coat evenly. Add some white pepper and adjust seasonings to taste.
- Serve garnished with some chopped chives.
Yield: Makes 6 side-dish size servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.