I was desperately trying to find ways to use up the quince surplus we had this year, but I know mine is hardly a ‘problem’ many of you are likely to have…
Besides making Quince Spoon-sweet, cooking quince with sausage or poaching slices in sweet wine and honey, I wanted to find some simpler way to use the tart fruit in savory preparations, besides braising quince with meat or poultry –a favorite Greek Sunday and festive dish.
I came up with this recipe one morning, as a few of the bright yellow fruit in my gorgeous basket started to rot. From the old expression ‘kydonates’ (like quince) that refers to potatoes cut into chunky quarters, I got the idea to cut, baste and roast the quince pieces with olive oil, much like I now make my oven-fried potatoes. The old expression makes me think that quince was probably commonly cooked in savory dishes before the New World potatoes became the most ordinary winter root vegetable around the Mediterranean. Note that our completely organic fruits often become infested with worms and insects so I have to discard a lot more than just the central core.
Because quince is tart, I combined it with carrots, and thought to add sweet and fragrant allspice, earthy turmeric and thyme, as well as plenty of garlic; all these add such interesting, deep flavor to the mix. I had some boned chicken and I decided to roast it with the quince and carrots. Costas and I loved it, especially served over Olive Oil Rice Porridge, our favorite winter staple.
I made a second and third batch without chicken, and I keep finding different ways to serve it. I think that it makes wonderful topping for bruschetta, and in my opinion it is the best ‘hash’ to accompany eggs for breakfast and brunch.
I know that quince is hardly a common ingredient for everybody, so I propose, if you have no quince, to roast instead a combination of cauliflower (briefly steamed first) and turnips. But make sure you add a few tablespoons of lemon juice together with the olive oil and spices, since both cauliflower and turnips are sweet and lack the quince’s tartness that so well complements the roasted carrots’ flavor.