It’s been waaayyy too long since we’ve done a Friday Food Pairing post! I’m pleased to report that today I have a good one.
We got Bare Bear into Hops and Hocks last week, and as usual with Off Color Brewing, the illustration on the bottle immediately caught my eye. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen blurred animal genitalia on a beer bottle before. What about you guys? Bare Bear also piqued my interest because it’s a Sahti, a style that I’d only had once before at South Street Brewery in Charlottesville (pre Blue Mountain takeover South Street). Sahti is a style of beer that originated in Finland in the 1500s. It’s made from a variety of grains and is flavored with juniper berries instead of (or in addition to) hops. Traditionally the mash was actually filtered through juniper twigs!
After a little internet reading, I established that Sahtis pair well with soft ripened cheeses and roasted foods. After one website mentioned squash, my wheels started turning! I originally wanted this recipe to be more pizza-esque, but it ended up as an open-faced sandwich.
First I tossed onion and yellow squash in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and roasted it in the oven for 20-25 minutes. As the veggies cooked I cut open a piece of baguette and topped each side with sliced ouleout, a gooey, stinky (in a good way) cheese that we carry at H&H. Once the veggies were tender, I spread them on top of the cheese and put the sandwich in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese was satisfactorily melty. 😉 Super easy! Seriously, the hardest part of this recipe was battling my apartment’s ridiculously sensitive smoke detector, which goes off every time you use the oven, stove, or even toaster at a high level. I had to stand on a chair and fan the alarm with cardboard every time I opened the oven. Yep, about as fun as it sounds.
I could not believe how well this turned out. The earthy, slightly caramelized onions and squash went soooo well with the rich, funky cheese. Once I added Bare Bear to the mix, it was ecstasy. Bare Bear’s dark fruit and caramel malt flavors perfectly contrasted the savory, salty sandwich (how ’bout that alliteration). I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was one of the most delicious meals I’ve had in a while, which, okay, probably means I need to cook more. First things first, I’m taking the batteries out of the smoke detector.