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Zuccuri Squash Canapés

Zuccuri Squash Canapés

These delectable Zuccuri Squash Canapés are from student-Chef team Stephanie Simoulis, Emilia Young, Thomas Trip, and Declan Smith at the Culinary Institute of America.

This recipe was created as part of the Farm-to-Table course in preparation for the Hudson Valley Food Bank's annual Farm-to-Fork Feast, and were inspired by the unique qualities of Zuccuri chestnut kabocha. 

Wanting to use as much of the squash as possible and limit food waste, these Chefs used the squash as a purée topped with a smoked-paprika-roasted seed, alongside fried basil. They discussed how further iterations might use dried kabocha skins as well. 

Beneath the purée is a drizzle of spicy honey on top of a crunchy, savory cracker. The combination was a symphony of creaminess, spice, crunch, and sweetness suitable for the fanciest of dinner parties. 

Squash purée:

  • 1 Zuccuri kabocha squash
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sunflower oil
  • Vegetable stock or water to thin
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut squash, remove seeds, rub sunflower oil and salt to taste
  3. Roast squash to tender
  4. Remove skin and cool squash
  5. In Vitamix, add squash and veg stock/water as needed to create a smooth consistency
  6. Season as needed

Roasted Zuccuri Kabocha Seeds:

  • Rinsed seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Apple cider vinegar to coat
  • Sunflower oil to coat
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Toss seeds in apple cider vinegar, salt, and smoked paprika
  3. Place on a sheet tray and let roast, making sure to toss the seeds every five minutes to cook evenly
  4. Cook to golden brown and crunchy

Hot Honey:

  • 16 oz honey
  • 1 habanero
  1. In a sauce pan, place honey and halved habanero on medium heat and bring to gentle simmer to infuse.
  2. Gently simmer for 10 minutes or to the heat level desired
  3. Strain honey through a fine mesh strainer, let cool
  4. Transfer to a squirt bottle to serve

Fried Basil:

  • Fresh basil
  • Sunflower oil
  1. Place sauté pan over medium heat and add an inch of oil to the pan
  2. Set a paper towel lined tray close to skillet to hold fried herbs to drain and dry
  3. Use tongs to lower basil into the oil once heated, fry about 10 seconds per side
  4. Be sure to keep herbs vibrant and green, not dark and bitter. Should look like little stained glass. Lower heat if too hot.


  • 3 Qts AP Flour
  • 1 Qt Water
  • 3 Tbs oil
  • 2 Tbs Ea: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Sesame Seeds, Salt
  • 1 Egg
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Add water and oil
  3. Stir till all ingredients are incorporated
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap, let wit for at least 30 min
  5. Use pasta machine to roll out till setting 4 or about 1/8th inch
  6. Cut with cookie cutter, apply an egg wash, sprinkle with salt and poke holes with a fork on top
  7. Put in oven at 400 F until golden brown

Place crackers on a plate and top with spicy honey and then kabocha purée. Place the roasted seed and a piece of fried basil into the purée and sprinkle flaky salt on top. Enjoy! 

Mise en place: Zuccuri puree, paprika roasted seeds, sea salt, fried basil, crackers, hot honey

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