Crunchy Baked Opo

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Opo?

What in the world is Opo?

This, friends, is Opo:
WIN_20150417_153559I found this large, pale green curiosity at my local Asian market, and had absolutely no idea what it was or how to prepare it… which of course meant that it needed a place of honor in my shopping basket! I brought it home, cut it in half, and could see that it’s obviously some sort of squash:
WIN_20150417_181954It looks and feels a bit like zucchini, but I was surprised to discover that it tastes like a cucumber! I don’t mean those soulless winter cucumbers at the supermarket… Opo tastes like the most wonderful, garden fresh cucumber tasted right off the vine in mid-July. I was charmed.

Because I loved the crunch and flavor of Opo right away, I decided to prepare a dish that would highlight the crunch and not overwhelm the fresh taste. This dish is super easy. Track down an Opo and give it a try!

Ingredients (Makes 4 side dish servings)

4 cups thin sliced Opo (no need to peel or seed, just wash the whole Opo and slice it)

2 tablespoons melted butter (not margarine)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

WIN_20150417_182550Directions

Step 1) Grease a baking dish (I used a pie dish) with the wrapper from a stick of butter. Arrange sliced Opo in baking dish.

Step 2) Brush sliced Opo with melted butter and sprinkle with paprika and salt.

Step 3) Sprinkle cornmeal over sliced Opo. Drizzle any remaining melted butter over the cornmeal.

Step 4) Top the cornmeal with grated parmesan. Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until parmesan is golden brown. Serve immediately.

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