The contrasting colours and textures in this dish result in a beautiful starter for a winter feast. The squash is spit-roasted directly, either whole or in quarters. Its flesh, imbued with subtly smoky charcoal flavours, is then pureed with creme fraiche. The leeks can either be pan fried or, for a more intense char, dirty cooked direct on the coals.
THE DAY BEFORE Pick the leaves from the fresh thyme stalks, warm the stalks up in a pan of olive oil and leave to infuse for a day. Strain the oil and add some of the fresh thyme leaves. Don't use them all, as you’ll want some for the garnish. Make extra oil so you can use it in future cooks.
Set up your EGG
Set up your EGG for direct rotisserie cooking, with the Rotisserie ring in place and the motor unit plugged in. Load and light the EGG for rotisserie cooking. Once up to temperature, add in your Multi-Level Rack.
Now prepare your squash to fit onto the spit. You can either cook your squash whole or sliced into quarters. Either way, you will need to create pilot holes through the hard skin.
Remove the top fork from the spit. Thread the spit through the whole or quartered squash, and push down into the bottom form. Put the top fork back on the spit and push it into place. Make sure the squash is in the centre of the spit so it can turn in the rotation grooves. Tighten the wing screws.
Attach the spit to the Rotisserie motor and cook the squash for 40 minutes to an hour.
Once cooked, cut it in half and scoop out the flesh. Place the flesh in a blender and discard the seeds and skin. Add the creme fraiche (saving some for the garnish) and olive oil to the blender and blend until a smooth consistency.
Add the blended squash to a pan on a hob over a low heat to keep it warm and season to taste with white pepper and sea salt. If it's too thick you can always add a splash of water.
While the squash puree is warming through, cook the leeks on the plancha. Make sure the plancha is oiled up and nice and hot. The leeks should take around 10 minutes to cook. Turn them over halfway through. You can also cook them dirty style by throwing them right in the coals – just remember to turn them. You can serve the baby leeks al dente if you like a bit of texture.
Remove the squash pan from the heat and spread the puree on each plate. Place two leeks on top, a sprinkling of the roughly chopped hazelnuts, followed by the creme fraiche, a drizzle of thyme oil and a few thyme leaves to finish.