The Chef's Take: Kabocha Squash Soup from The Fat Radish
The Fat Radish, which opened in 2010, is one of those perfect New York City restaurants. The uncomplicated, slightly British, vegetable-focused menu traces the seasons with local as its mantra. The design is that effortless combination of reclaimed barnyard and weathered industrial chic. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. And the folks in the seats all look as though they might have just walked off the set of Girls. All the pieces come together courtesy of owners Ben Towill and Phil Winser, self-taught cooks who are passionate about good ingredients, great design, and feeding guests well.
Their new book, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries, takes you through a year of vegetable-focused eating, with one hundred recipes from the restaurant’s constantly evolving menu, including carrot and avocado salad with hijiki and crispy kale, grilled whole fish with spicy grape salsa, peach ceviche with raw fluke, and this impossibly creamy, vegan Kabocha squash soup (recipe below).
"Whole foods feature big in our cooking," said Winser. “Part of our philosophy is all about sourcing the best seasonal produce you can, and using those ingredients in a simple way. It’s a wonderful reminder about how diverse the seasons are. I can't wait for fall and am craving the new produce that will be available."
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the kabocha in half and scoop out and discard the seeds and the stringy
flesh inside. Wrap the cleaned squash in aluminum foil and place in the oven.
Roast until softened, about an hour. Set the squash aside.
Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then, until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer while you prepare the squash.
Peel off and discard the skin from half of the roasted squash and add the flesh to the soup. Use an immersion blender to puree. Season to taste with salt.
Cut the remaining half of roasted squash into wedges and place them in the soup.
Serve the soup hot, garnishing each serving with toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of chives.
© The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries: Putting Vegetables at the Center of the Plate by Ben Towill and Phil Winser, Rizzoli New York, 2014.
Andrea Strong is a freelance writer whose work often appears in Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She's probably best known as the creator of The Strong Buzz, her food blog about New York City restaurants. She lives in Queens with her two kids, her husband and her big appetite.