I'm a fan of seasonal eating. It never seems quite right to have crookneck squash in winter or asparagus in late summer. Still, so many foods are available year-round now it can be easy to want to make use of them if they are decent. Just because I can buy a tomato in January doesn't mean it's worth eating, but supermarket broccoli is just as good in July as in March or November.
Today I made a somewhat impromptu lunch for a friend, and it occurred to me later it was a perfect winter meal, despite the fact that it was a warm April day. It wasn't too heavy or hearty for the weather or season, but it was a combination that would fit more naturally with a crisp fall day.
I started with a butternut squash I had sitting around. Winter squashes are now ubiquitous all year. (Except for pumpkins ... I don't understand why the small cooking pumpkins are the only winter squash that are on the market for a couple of months each year.) Peeled, seeded, and cubed, the squash was roasted with a little olive oil, salt, coriander, and pepper.
The green vegetable was haricots verts -- the slender French green beans that are tender with little cooking. First I toasted some chopped pecans in a pat of butter. I set aside the toasted nuts and added a small minced shallot to the pan. After a brief saute, the beans were added with a little water. Quickly covering the pan to allow the beans to steam, I turned to start preparing the main course.
I had a couple of pork tenderloins in the fridge. I sliced one into chunks about 2 inches thick. The rounds were flattened slightly, dusted with garlic salt & a herb mixture, and sauteed in olive oil in an iron skillet. When they were done I removed them to a plate, then deglazed the pan with some water, sherry, and a couple of squirts of Dijon mustard. I let that cook down to a nice sauce, then poured it over the pork.
To finish out the meal I took the lid off the haricots verts and let the water cook away, leaving a nice glaze on the beans. Off went the heat, and the beans were finished with the toasted pecans.
It was a simple collection of dishes, easy to prepare while chatting and nibbling on Parmesan Goldfish crackers and trail mix. If we'd been hungrier we could have had bread or dessert, but it suited us fine as it was. So, we dined on pork and winter squash on my front porch, enjoying the spring sun and trees and flowers and bumble bees.