This week I'm celebrating the first day of Summer by featuring summer squash while it is in the peak of its season, has the best flavor and is the least expensive. With its soft shell and creamy white flesh, it takes just minutes to prepare and is a great summer addition to any meal. Here are three of my favorite ways to cook squash. Enjoy!
BAKED SUMMER SQUASH
Baked summer squash is a very versatile Southern side dish. It pairs well with everything from fried chicken at a summertime Sunday lunch to an outdoor cook-out. The herbs and Parmesan cheese added to the breadcrumbs takes this quick and easy delicious vegetable dish to a whole other level!
SERVES 6 - 8INGREDIENTS
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds summer squash (such as zucchini, pattypan squash, yellow crookneck squash)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, parsley and oregano
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Remove stem ends and slice squash cross-wise in 1/4"-thick rounds. Toss with olive oil.
- In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper and herbs.
- Arrange half the squash rounds in bottom of a 9" by 12" rectangular baking dish, or similar. Sprinkle with half the bread crumb mixture.
- Arrange remaining squash on top and sprinkle remaining bread crumb mixture.
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake another five minutes.
- Serve hot out of the oven.
STEAM-SAUTEED SUMMER SQUASH
This is, hands down, my favorite way to eat summer squash. And I realize this might be due to a nostalgic fondness for Southern-style vegetables, but trust me: as far as cooking summer squash goes, this is one of the best and easiest. Sauteing squash and onions in butter brings out the natural sweetness of both vegetables. There are times for keeping squash bright and slightly crisp. This is not one of them. You want it to get soft and gooey, with onions that practically melt. It's simply divine!
SERVES 6 - 8
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 chicken bouillon
- 6 yellow crookneck squash, scrubbed and sliced
WHAT TO DO
- Layer ingredients, in the order given, into a large sauce pot.
- Place over a medium-high heat. When you hear it begin to sizzle, give the squash and onions a good stir.
- Cover pot, turn down the heat to low and cook approximately 8 minutes or until squash is tender and has created juices.
- Serve hot!
GRILLED SUMMER SQUASH
For a simple summer side dish, fire up your grill. Vegetables with a high water content, such as summer squash, cook beautifully on the grill. The dry heat helps the water to evaporate quickly and allows them to brown easily. Grill them along side chicken, beef or pork and your meal can be ready in a matter of minutes.SERVES 6 - 8
- 6 medium yellow crookneck squash
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the squash horizontally into 1/2 inch thick slices so that you have nice long strips.
- Heat olive oil in a small pan, and add garlic cloves. Cook over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle and become fragrant.
- Preheat an outdoor or stove top grill for medium-high heat.
- Brush the slices of squash with the garlic oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill squash slices for 5 to 10 minutes per side, until they reach the desired tenderness.
- TIP: This is the best way to grill your squash, but when short on time, toss squash slices with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, then salt and pepper.