When we heard about Amy Traverso’s new apple-obsessed cookbook, Shelby and I were eager to give it a test drive. As Senior Lifestyle Editor at Yankee magazine, Amy knows New England and, lucky for all of us, she knows apples too. Amy will be signing her new book this Saturday, September 24 at our Local Market in Boston. She’ll be there from 2-3pm, so please stop by! -Maggie
You know you have found a treasure of a cookbook when you just can’t decide which recipe you want to make first. As I made my way through the The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, by Amy Traverso, I found myself dog-earing nearly every other page. There was the Acorn Square Stuffed with Kasha and Apples; a Pork and Apple Pie with Chedder-Sage Crust; Cider Braised Pork Chops with Mustard Pan Sauce; a lovely looking Swedish Apple Pie and an Apple Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake that’s description alone made my mouth water.
This chilly air this past weekend led to long walks outside and nights spent snug indoors. The brisk air left me wanting something equally cozy and warm, so as I turned through Amy’s cookbook today, I landed on this Squash and Apple Gratin. To say that this recipe has made my house smell like heaven is an understatement. The scent of onions and apples caramelizing in butter and rosemary is something that I think should be made into one of those scented candles. The addition of a nutty Gruyere and a splash of cream brings a nice richness to the dish, which is deliciously paired with the garlicky, crunchy breadcrumbs on top.
I served it with a roasted chicken and a pretty green salad with dried cranberries and goat cheese, but, as Amy suggests, this dish really could stand alone as a vegetarian main course. I could also see it as a nice Thanksgiving side dish, full of savory flavors and hearty ingredients.
One of the best things about this cookbook, however, is not the recipes at all. It’s the comprehensive history and guide to apples around New England and much of the rest of the country. It’s a rare cookbook that makes you want to both curl up and read and also take it along with you to the farmers’ market. I did just that the other day, using The Apple Lover’s Cookbook to help me buy new (to me) apple varieties to use in sweet and savory dishes.
I may have had trouble deciding what to make first from this cookbook, but luckily for all of us, we are just in the early stages of fall. There is plenty of time this season to cook and bake our ways through the The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, something that I fully intend to do.
Squash and Apple Gratin
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 medium butternut squash (1 ½ lbs or 680 g), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 —inch-wide crescents and half-moons
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 2 medium firm-sweet apples (I used gingergold and honeycrisp), peeled, cored, and cut into ½ inch wedges
- 1 ½ ounces (46 g) crusty white bread, such as Pullman style or Italian, torn into small pieces
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and set an over rack to the middle position. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and the broth. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the cheese, cream mixture, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. Pour into a gratin or baking dish, cover with foil, and bake until the squash is tender, 35 to 45 minutes, turning the dish and removing the foil halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.
- Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, and cook until it begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rosemary, the reaming ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the apples, and cook until they are tender and beginning to caramelize, 8 to 10 minutes. Spread evenly over the squash. Turn the broiler to high.
- In a food processor, pulse the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the garlic, and nutmeg to create course breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the squash and apples. Broil, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
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Did you know we’re hosting our first Local Market on September 24, 2011 in Boston?