Talk about Southern Comfort: Squash Casserole is what I think of first. I could eat a whole pan of my moms. Squash is so versatile and abundant this time of year. I am always looking for new things to do with all of it and have come up with some good stuff. I just used yellow crookneck squash and zucchini for the Ribbon Salad, zucchini for the Bread, and a variety called zephyr for the Casserole. They are all pretty much interchangeable and there are some other cool varieties out there to be explored like the eight ball and patty pans! Keep an eye on your garden because these things will get big fast and the bigger they get the more fibrous and bitter they will become. If you can’t use it all up immediately you can always slice it up, blanch it in boiling water, shock it in an ice bath, freeze in a single layer until frozen solid then store in a zippy for later use. Even the blossoms are edible!
Grilled Summer Squash Ribbon Salad
2 pounds mixed squash and zucchini, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
¼ cup chopped toasted almonds
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Cut the squash and zucchini lengthwise into long thin ribbons using a mandolin or wide vegetable peeler, about 1/8 inch thick. Toss with enough olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Cook on the grill for a minute or two per side just until they get marks from the grill and are tender but not falling apart. Remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly. Toss with lemon juice, zest, dill, and more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve on a platter and sprinkle with the almonds, little nobs of cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Summer Squash Casserole
Serves: 4 as a side dish
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound summer squash, cut into ¼ inch thick rounds
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ chopped fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, chives, or oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup grated cheese*
1 egg beaten
¼ cup crème fraiche (you can use mayo, sour cream, or Greek style yogurt)
1½ cups homemade breadcrumbs or panko style breadcrumbs
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
In another skillet melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter and add the breadcrumbs and garlic. Cook until the crumbs become golden. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the herbs.
Heat an oven to 350°F. Add the cayenne, if using, the cheese, crème fraiche, egg and ½ cup of the bread crumb mixture to the squash and onions and stir to combine. Load into an 11x7 casserole and top with remaining breadcrumbs. Bake until hot in the center and bubbly around the edges, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before serving.
*Any cheese can be used. I used cheddar. Gruyere would be nice, fontina, a combo including parmesan, goat cheese or feta. The herbs to you can play with!
Makes 2 loaves
4 ounces butter
1¼ cups natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons molasses or honey
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups shredded zucchini, excess moisture squeezed out
3 cups white whole-wheat flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup white whole-wheat flour
¼ cup natural cane sugar
Big pinch of salt
Big pinch freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup toasted chopped nuts, optional
2 lemons, zested
4 tablespoons butter, room temp. and cut into cubes
Heat an oven to 350°F. Spray two standard loaf pans with spray and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the molasses or honey, then the eggs 1 at a time stopping to scrape down the bowl if necessary. On low speed, add the zucchini. In another bowl whisk together the flour through the cinnamon. Add the dry to the wet in batches using low speed until thoroughly combined but not over worked.
Combine all of the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl. Add the butter with your fingers rubbing into flour mixture to form large crumbs. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan on a rack. Serve warm, toasted with some butter. These loves freeze well and make great gifts.