• 1 small kuri squashwashed, seeds and pith removed (no need to peel it)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1-inch fresh gingerpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • Pinch piment d’Espelette or hot paprika
  • 1/2cup cilantro leaves
  • 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 datespitted, minced
  • 8 almondsminced
  • Pinch piment d’Espelette or hot paprika
  • Pinch Fleur de sel
  • 1teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4teaspoon hazelnut or walnut oil
  • fine sea salt
  • Cumin Salt
  1. Place the squash in a large, heavy saucepan and cover it with 2-inches (5cm) water. Add the star anise, the ginger, the orange zest, the bay leaf and the salt. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat so the water is boiling gently, partially cover and cook until the squash is tender through, about 30 minutes. Check occasionally and add additional water if necessary. When the squash is tender, remove all the spices, transfer the squash to a food processor and puree.. Season with cumin salt and pepper. Return to the pan and keep the puree warm.
  2. While the squash is cooking, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, the salt, and the piment d’Espelette. Slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil until the mixture is well-combined.   Mince the cilantro leaves, and whisk into the vinaigrette. Season to taste.
  3. Place the olive oil, dates, almonds, olive oil, piment d’Espelette, and the fleur de sel to taste in a small mixer and puree to make a paste. Form the paste into 8 small cone shapes, and reserve.
  4. Tying the eggs in the oiled plastic wrap – many hands make light work
  5. Line a small bowl with a double thickness of plastic wrap, leaving plenty of plastic wrap to hang over the edges of the bowl. Oil the plastic wrap with a pastry brush dipped in the olive oil. Break 1 egg into the oiled plastic lining the bowl. Add one-fourth of the hazelnut or walnut oil (or just use extra-virgin olive oil), and a bit of salt. Bring the edges of the film up and around the egg and twist it so it tightly encloses the egg. Tie it tightly with kitchen string.
  6. Eggs poaching
  7. To cook the eggs, fill a medium-sized pan three-fourths full of water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the eggs in their plastic wrap and cook them until they solidify, but the yolk remains soft inside, about 4-1/2 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan and set them on a tea towel. Wait about 1 minutes, then cut the plastic film right under the kitchen string.
  8. Reheat the squash, and season it to taste. If it is dry, stir in enough boiling water to make it the consistency you want, then adjust the seasonings.
  9. To serve, evenly divide the squash among four warmed plates, flattening it slightly in the center of the plate. Season it with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Remove an egg from the plastic wrap and slide it onto the puree. Drizzle the egg with an equal amount of the vinaigrette, drizzling some of the vinaigrette over and around the squash as well. Set two or three dateS “cones” on the plate, season with cumin salt, and serve.