Friday, December 9, 2011

An Ode to Roquefort

   
     The smell of Roquefort, that notorious salty blue fungi speckled French cheese, baking in the oven is heady. I feel almost drunk as I sit and write this, all off that smell. Man oh Man. So rich and salty and tempting me with things to come. That is only one of the good smells that came out of the oven today.



     The first, only half an hour ago, was of roasting acorn squash. That was slathered in balsamic vinegar and honey and olive oil and pepper and laid on a foil lined pan, placed in the oven, and yum. But you see, I couldn't eat it all off the pan - I stopped myself after only two pieces. Because today I made a flatbread.


     What is the difference between a pizza and a flatbread? I don't know why I feel the need to call this a flatbread, but can we let it slide? Because pizza or flatbread, this is just pure deliciousness. It came out of the oven by the way. I ate almost half of it standing over it telling myself I still need to save some to photograph tomorrow in the morning light. Do we all understand how this flatbread is a conglomeration of many good things together?

   
     Roasted acorn squash. Check. Spinach that was mixed up with lots of Roquefort and a little honey. Check. Then globs of Roquefort on Top. Oh My God. The sweetness of the squash against the saltiness of the Roquefort is more than divine. The spinach became almost creamy in its Roquefort bath and biting through the cheese and tender squash and spinach to the crunchy crust....Heaven.

    
     The irony behind all this is that before this summer you couldn't have paid me to touch blue cheese. Yet, post the most awesome trip to France with the loveliest people who I miss so so so much, I am a blue cheese person. But most specifically, a Roquefort person. The Roquefort eating (orgies) we had this summer were definitely inappropriate in the amounts of Roquefort sometimes consumed per day.


     Be warned that this recipe is an ode to those moments, and the taste of the cheese really comes through here. If you are not a blue cheese person, I would cut down on the amount you mix with the spinach, and just sprinkle less on top. But this recipe, the way I made it, is dedicated to my France trip companions....you would like it.

Roquefort, Spinach, and Acorn Squash Flatbread
Adapted (a lot) from Smitten Kitchen

1 1 pound Acorn Squash
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Olive Oil
A generous grinding of black pepper
A light sprinkle of salt
1 cup Spinach
1/2 block Roquefort (about 1/4 cup, plus more for sprinkling)
1/2 Trader Joe's Pizza Dough OR enough dough for an 8'' Diameter Thin Crust Pizza

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut your acorn squash in half, scoop out the middle, and then cut it into half-moons. Peel these, then cut the half moons into chunks (about 1 inch, they can be rough).* In a medium bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of the honey, olive oil, black pepper, and salt. Dump in the chunks of acorn squash, and mix them around, until they are all thoroughly coated. Lay them flat on a baking tray (covered with foil if you don't want it to get dirty). Pour any remaining liquid over them. Place them in the oven and let them roast for about 20 minutes until they are just fork-tender. Take them out and let them cool while you finish the rest of the steps. Raise the heat of the oven to 425 degrees.

Shred your spinach and place it in a bowl with the Roquefort, crumbled up, and the last tablespoon of honey (I used the same bowl again to get those last drips of marinade). Massage the spinach into the cheese, until it looks almost like a spinach dip.

Stretch out your pizza dough (I generally just drizzle some olive oil on my baking tray and stretch the pizza dough until its as thin as possible, without tearing, and fits in the middle of the tray) or roll it out to an 8'' diameter pizza. Top it with the spinach and cheese mixture and the pieces of acorn squash. Dot with some extra crumbles of Roquefort cheese if you would like, and place it in the 425 degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is crispy and the cheese is golden on top. Let it cool on the pan for ten minutes, transfer to a cutting board, cut and eat!

*Note: You can tell by my pictures that I forgot to peel them. Peeling all those little chunks when they were hot out of the oven? Painful.

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