Friday, October 24th, 2014

Roasted Squash & Whipped Feta Tartine with Pistachio Dukkah

Squash & Feta Tartine with DukkahIn developing this recipe for a farmers market cooking demo I’m doing tomorrow, I took my cue from chef Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen. My version of his squash toast (yep, that’s what he calls it) moves away from the New England flavors he embraces to the souks of the Middle East.  I can’t help myself —that’s where my food sensibilities first took hold.

Kluger is pretty famous for his squash on toast. He doesn’t need fancy captions like crostini, canape, brushcetta or the now-in-vogue ‘tartine’. He’s a renowned chef working for an even more celebrated chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. kuri squashRoasted squash combined with maple-onion jam on top of ricotta cheese. It’s a bit like Thanksgiving on toast—the ingredients are simple and understated, yet it has so many layers of flavors its deliriously delicious. Given that I’m not a famous chef, I’ve decided to join the trendy French tartine movement and call my recipe Squash and Whipped Feta Tartine with Pistachio Dukkah.

For my recipe, I swapped out red pepper flakes for Aleppo chili flakes. These beautifully coarse ground chili flakes have some of the heat of red pepper flakes but also have a cumin-like earthiness and a hint of sweetness to them. For the onion jam, I used honey and sherry vinegar instead of maple and cider vinegar.  And for the cheese—a tangy, salty, creamy smear of whipped feta cheese is a great savory counterpoint to the squash. To seal the deal, I finish with a sprinkling of an Egyptian nut and spice mixture called dukkah. It’s a great combination of flavor and texture… comforting and exotic all at the same time. I like to think Dan and Jean-Georges (and you, of course) would approve of my interpretation.squash toast with whipped feta and pistachio dukkah

Just about any yellow-fleshed squash can be used for this recipe. Butternut squash is a reliable and delicious option, but this time of year when red kuri squash is available, I simply can’t resist. It’s hands down my favorite squash – the flesh has a rich, burnished flavor that is surprisingly reminiscent of roasted chestnuts. This time of year, I load up on them and use them in just about everything. (Stay tuned for my upcoming pumpkin pie featuring this yummy squash.)

Red kuri squash have the added benefit of having a thin skin that is edible. For a quick and easy side dish to a weeknight meal, I simply cut them into slices with the skin on, toss with some oil, salt and pepper and roast them in a hot oven for 25 minutes.

For all you Boston folks, I’ll be demonstrating how to make this squash tartine at the Egleston Farmers Market  tomorrow, Saturday, October 25, at noon. I’d love to see you there. If you show up after 1 pm, though… I’ll be toast.

A note about photography for this post: Myrosha has been very busy with graduate school, so I borrowed my husband’s camera and hacked away at these myself. Not as good as hers but I had some fun with it.



Roasted Squash & Whipped Feta Tartine with Pistachio Dukkah

Serving Size: Serves 4 as a light lunch or 6 to 8 as an appetize

You can use any yellow-fleshed squash for this recipe. You will need 5 cups of cubed squash.


  • 1½ pounds red kuri squash (about 1 small squash or 3/4 of a medium sized squash) peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Allepo chile (or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 slices of whole grain bread, sliced ¾ inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon pistachio dukkah (recipe below)


  1. Heat oven to 450°F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss squash, 2 tablespoons olive oil, Aleppo chile, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper on baking sheet and spread evenly on pan. Bake, tossing squash halfway through cooking, until tender and edges are beginning to color, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat another 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add vinegar and honey and simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with squash and roughly mash with a fork.
  3. Puree feta cheese, ricotta cheese, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a food processor until creamy, about 1 minute.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add bread and cook until golden and toasted on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. Spread whipped feta on bread, top with the squash-onion mixture and sprinkle with the dukkah. Cut into wedges if desired. Serve.
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Pistachio Dukkah

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice and nut blend. Sprinkle it on a salad or dip bread in olive oil and dip it into the dukkah.Dukkah also makes a great crunchy coating for chicken or fish.


  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ cup pistachio nuts
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and allow them to cool completely before grinding.
  2. Meanwhile, roast nuts in a small skillet until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop. Add sesame seeds to the skillet and toast until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Toast coconut in skillet, stirring constantly until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to bowl with nuts. Add ground spices, salt and pepper.
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Gerlinde de Broekert @
October 24th, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I love everything about this recipe except the coconut flakes , what can I subsitute for them ? Good luck with your presentation.

October 24th, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Gerlinde, thank for checking it out. Feel free to leave out the coconut. No need to substitute, it works fine without! Good luck and thanks for checking out the blog.

Lynne Anderson
October 24th, 2014 at 5:58 pm

It sounds delicious! I may try it next Fri!

Margaret Wood
October 25th, 2014 at 8:54 am

Eva: where can you find Dukkah locally? I’d love to try this!

Margaret Wood
October 25th, 2014 at 8:55 am

Never mind: obviously scrolling too fast…

Nina Berger
October 25th, 2014 at 9:49 am

Yum. This looks amazing! I make the Dukkah with hazelnuts or almonds….yummy with just some bread and olive oil.

October 29th, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Thanks Nina -nice to see you at the farmers market.

Michelle @ Feed Me I'm Hungry
October 30th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Looks delightful! The pistachios sound like they would be wonderful with the squash! Also beautiful styling!

Susan Brisk
November 2nd, 2014 at 8:55 am

Love the way you post a recipe. The story behind it and beautiful picture describing what to do. I have a recipe column on my web-site, would love you have a ling to you, is that OK?

Michele Wyckoff Smith
November 16th, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Wow, this looks great. The Dukkah recipe alone is a winner. Will try it with the many squashes I have in the larder.


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