When my wife spotted Japanese yams in the gourmet grocery store, she also found Japanese pumpkin (or squash) or kabocha かぼちゃ. We usually get kabocha at our Japanese grocery store but have not seen it in the regular grocery stores for some time. I made my usual simmered dish which we love from half the kabocha. For the other half, I decided to make a new dish. I described several dishes I found on Japanese websites to my wife. When she heard "bacon" as one of the ingredients, she asked 'what's the question that's the one'. I followed the recipe except for some minor changes in the dressing.
Bacon and garlic are a fail safe combination.
Besides lemon juice which was called for in the recipe, I added lemon zest (using a micro-grater) which added a nice citris flavor and acidity.
Japanese "kabocha" pumpkin (#1). I used half for this dish, The seeds cleaned out, cut into half inch thick and 1-2 inch long pieces. I sliced off most of the skin using a heavy chef's knife.
Bacon, two nice smoky and rather thickly cut strips.
For dressing: 1 tbs olive oil, 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed, 1 tsp lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper to taste.
1. I microwaved the kabocha in a silicon container. I checked it several times until soft or cooked through (it took a total of 5 minutes) (#2).
2. Meanwhile, I fried the bacon until crispy and rendered the bacon drippings (#3). I left the bacon drippings in the pan and set aside the bacon strips on a paper towel lined plate.
3. I browned the kabocha pieces on both sides (#4).
4. I transferred the kabocha to a bowl and added the dressing and gently mixed (#5 and 6). I tasted it and added more lemon juice.
This was quite good. The bacon added nice porky and smoky flavors. The garlic with acidic lemon flavors combined with the sweetness of the kaboch are good match. We will definitely add this to our regular kabocha dishes.