Kabocha Pumpkin Dip with Dips & Spreads
Now that fall has officially arrived, we're fully embracing the season's harvest of pumpkins and squash. With autumn entertaining in mind, we asked Dawn Yanagihara, author of the book Dips & Spreads, to share her recipe for a fall favorite: Kabocha Pumpkin Dip with Maple, Yogurt, and Harissa. Sweet, earthy, and a little bit spicy, it's the season's perfect snack. Read on for a conversation with Dawn, plus the recipe.
terrain: Why were you inspired to write a book on dips and spreads?
Dawn: It's a not a cookbook on just any old dips and spreads, but on wholesome yet super-delicious dips and spreads. Americans love a good dip, but we're accustomed to heavy recipes laden with mayo, sour cream, or cream cheese. Those recipes don't fit the way many of us prefer to eat today; we so often try to choose more healthful ingredients, less processed foods, and more vegetables, too. Fortunately, there are lots of wholesome, flavorful options for making dips, especially if you look to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Nuts, legumes, yogurt, and even veggies figure prominently into these dips and spreads. And these ingredients are widely available -- it's simply a matter of knowing how to use them and putting them together in appealing flavor combinations.
terrain: What are some of your favorite flavors for fall?
Dawn: Fall makes me crave big, rich flavors with lots of depth: brussels sprouts that are darkly charred; salty, umami-packed anchovies; winter squash that has been nicely caramelized; and hearty meat braises.
terrain: What was your inspiration for the Kabocha Pumpkin Dip recipe?
Dawn: Being Japanese-American, I grew up eating kabocha. I've always loved its vibrant color, earthy sweetness, and dense, creamy flesh. I often roast kabocha, so I knew that it yields a rich, luxurious puree -- perfect for the base of a dip. As for the flavor profile, I just can't get enough of maple syrup and the flavor combination of sweet, spicy, and savory!
Kabocha Pumpkin Dip with Maple, Yogurt, and Harissa
Makes 2 1/2 cups
One 2-lb [910-g] kabocha pumpkin
2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled, woody ends trimmed
4 Tbsp [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup [80 g] plain whole-milk yogurt
2 Tbsp tahini
1 1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, preferably grade B, plus more as needed
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp harissa, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp salted roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Recipe excerpted from Dips & Spreads by Dawn Yanagihara (Chronicle Books). Copyright © 2015.