A perfect meal, like a masterpiece of film or prose, must contain all stellar elements, with the co-stars every bit as good as the leading players. Below are two side dish recipes that can hold their own alongside that perfect roast chicken or flawless rack of lamb.
SQUASH BAKED CASSEROLE
Alas, another gratin, but one so savoury we can't promise leftovers for lunch the next day. You can substitute the rather esoteric cheese if needed with sliced gruyere or very good Parmesan-Reggiano.
1 2-lb. butternut or acorn squash or pumpkin, peeled and seeded and chopped / 3 whole cloves garlic / 3-4 dried red chile peppers / 1 t. whole coriander seeds / kosher salt / 1 T. butter or olive oil / 1/3 lb. sliced or shredded Kefalograviera cheese ( a hard, sheep's-milk Greek cheese often found in international food markets)
- Boil squash cubes, garlic and spices in salted water just to cover until tender. Keep the saucepan covered. The squash should be quite soft.
- Drain and cool slightly. Process all in blender with butter or oil until velvety smooth.
- Transfer to a small baking dish, top with cheese and heat thoroughly in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes or more.
- Serve hot with chopped thyme or dill as a garnish.
Serve unadorned, or if desired, with a drizzle of tomato sauce and/or tahini or yogurt. The fritters are als delicious topped with chopped parsley and onion.
1 lb. zucchini /1/2 large onion / 1/2 lb. potatoes /1 cup crumbled feta /3 eggs /salt /flour /oil
- Boil the potatoes, zucchini and onion. Mash the vegetables coarsely after draining .
- Strain and squeeze to remove any excess water using a paper towel.
- Beat the eggs, and mix them with the vegetables and the grated cheese. Add salt as desired.
- Shape the mixture into small balls, coat the balls with the flour and fry on both sides until they take a golden brown color.
- Drain on paper towels and eat immediately.