Some of the world’s most delicious culinary inventions were born of necessity. Too much, too little, too fresh, too hard to transport? Taste nirvana. Bacon, smoked salmon, duck confit, wine, whiskey, cheese, hominy, sauerkraut . . . all of these were an inventive solution to the problem of how to make the harvest last longer. Grain was nearly impossible to get across the mountains to population centers, but whiskey wasn’t; milk spoils in a few days, but cheese ages for months and months; bacon and salt pork could see people through from hog butchering time in November until the crops came up in the spring.
Deconstructed Stuffed Squash
adapted from Nigel Slater’s Tender vol. 1
2-3 zucchini or summer squash (a mix of varieties is fine), washed and cut into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch of dill, chopped
1 small handful parsley, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes or 1 red jalapeno, sliced thin
1 pound ground pork
juice of 1 lemon
Place squash with minced garlic and red pepper flakes or sliced jalapeno in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat squash with oil. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat and saute squash quickly until just tender. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add more olive oil to skillet, then add pork. Season with salt and pepper and let brown without stirring too much, so that meat gets caramelized. When cooked, return squash to skillet, add herbs and combine all gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve with steamed brown rice.