I’ve always loved all things Winter Squash and have trialed numerous celebrated squashes in pursuit of the perfect squash, and I believe we may have found it in Sibley. Listed on the Ark of Taste, the awkward, strangely shaped bluish fruit lacks the qualities sought after in factory farmed produce. It doesn’t stack well. It offers nothing in the way of uniformity. It ripens slowly over a few months, instead of all at once. It’s not disease resistant, and the seeds are expensive. But the taste is sublime, complex, even somewhat nutty. The unusual thing about Sibley, offered by a few heirloom seed companies, is that although it is a winter squash, meaning it has a hard shell and can be harvested and stored for later use…it can also be used like a zucchini when very young. We’re growing Sibley and an heirloom zucchini, and are trying to put one or the other in all large boxes right now. I don’t think we could FIT a Sibley in a small box with everything else, although like I said, some Sibleys are huge and don’t fit in large boxes either…and occasionally we find one that is not much larger than a pummelo.
Ark of Taste Project is a special listing of unique foods established by Slow Food, the food advocacy organization. They’ve catalogued over a 1000 unique foods that are labeled extraordinarily delicious and endangered, including Sibley.
Here’s how I enjoyed the fruit this week with a friend for lunch: I halved the squash with a serrated knife, scooped out the seed (and saved it of course…Sibley is open pollinated so the seeds will come up true to type next year) and baked until soft at 350 degrees. I let cool to handle, and then spooned out the flesh into a Cuisinart with some low fat unflavored yogurt and a quarter cup of walnuts. I tossed in a couple cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and a quarter of a jalapeno for heat, and pureed. I reheated just before serving and once in bowls I topped with bread crumbs and shredded parmesan cheese, and used a kitchen torch to toast and melt the cheese at the table.