Yesterday was the first day of fall and I’m still hoarding summer vegetables. Maybe it’s because I live in the south, but I’m still surrounded by a beautiful assortment of locally-grown summer veggies and I just can’t resist them. My days are numbered, though. Sadly, I know this, which is why I’m making zucchini and summer squash dishes like crazy. In another few weeks, my sights will set on all sorts of root vegetables, but for now…summer squash anyone?
Granted, I find that summer squash, and zucchini for that matter, need a little help in the flavoring department. They are not quite as flat as boiled potatoes when left to their own devices, but they certainly don’t inspire harp-playing angels in your mouth either. But this roasting recipe brings out both a mouth-watering fragrance and a multi-dimensional taste. Give it a try.
To assist me, I called on an old and trusted friend: Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasonings Blend for Pork and Veal.
I haven’t tried all of his spice blends, so I can’t vouch for all of them, but this one is a wonderful flavoring agent. I mean, really good. The blends originated in Chef Pauls New Orleans-based K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen restaurant. After more and more customers began asking to take home the chef’s unique seasoning mixes, an entrepreneurial idea ‘sprung.’ What started as a garage-housed operation in 1982 has now grown to a 50,000 square-foot plant. That’s how good it is.
Quite honestly, I don’t know what spices are in these Magical Seasoning Blends, as it’s proprietary information. All I know is that it contains paprika and dehydrated garlic and onion and that it is free of MSG. And while it’s name suggests that it’s a seasoning for meat and meat alone, I beg to differ. I’ve used it to spice up roasted sweet potatoes as well as pecans and walnuts in a fall-centric ‘Harvest Salad,’ which I’ll cover soon. It makes everything pop, not just meats. You can find it in most supermarkets along with the other spices. Of course, you can bypass this blend all together and just use equal parts of onion powder, garlic salt and paprika. But I digress.
The texture of this dish is also top-notch. I especially enjoy the crunchiness of the toasted almonds juxtaposed next to the creaminess of the roasted squash and the goat feta cheese. The fresh basil leaves adds that final bit of brightness. It almost looks like a tropical island in this shot, doesn’t it?
Everything else in this recipe is pretty straight-forward and fast to put together. The only real time-consuming part is the roasting, but that’s passive, which allowed me to prepare orange-maple syrup glazed chicken thighs and braised white beans. Yum. The combination worked really well, though next time I would make a more colorful bean dish to enhance color contrast.