Raven and Noche, Magda, Safari, Tatuma, Tromboncino, Tempest and Tigress, Cue Ball, Eight Ball, Summer Ball, and Sunburst Pantheon, Flaminio, Zephyr, and Goldfinch, Green Machine, Gold Mine, Spineless Perfection, Slick Pik, MultiPik, Pik n Pik, and pick some more.
They are dark green, and light green, and green with stripes. Yellow, and orange, and gold, and white.
Whatever their color, whatever their shape, whatever their name--summer squash are here in full force and it is up to each of us to embrace the abundance.
I know the struggle; in the springtime, it sounds like a BRILLIANT idea to plant 4 or 5 different kinds of summer squash in the garden. They grow so well here. The plants put out leaves and flowers. You win the war against squash bugs. It’s easy to be proud of your gardening accomplishments. Then they start to fruit and suddenly, those four squash plants seem to sprout new GIANT squash every day. Tons of squash. Seriously, where do they come from! At this time of year, you can’t even give away summer squash. They pile up on tables in the corners of church halls and at the legion hall; your friends see you coming with a bag and suddenly run in the opposite direction!
Never fear, here are a handful of recipes to help you fully utilize the sum of your squash harvest. Finally, if you are drowning beneath a mound of summer squash, I recommend shredding and freezing your squash in 2-3 cup portions for use throughout the winter!
***Important Note*** When you are preparing summer squash recipes - feel free to substitute to your heart's content… A recipe for “zucchini” can be prepared with ANY summer squash. There are some sizes and shapes that are better for a particular application, for example, any round roly-poly shaped squash is perfect for stuffing, as the flavor profile and texture of summer squash are reasonably similar.
Grilled Summer Squash with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
3-5 small summer squash - trimmed and cut in half or into ½” thick slices
1½ lb tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
Basil for Garnish
Fire up the grill - medium-low heat
Rub squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill, turning once, until browned and tender (6-8 minutes)
Slice tomatoes and mozzarella about ¼” thick
Toss (or layer) the zucchini, tomatoes, and cheese. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil; season with salt and pepper; garnish with torn basil leaves.
Fried Summer Squash
2 lb summer squash
Salt and pepper
1 c flour
3 c breadcrumbs
Trim squash ends and cut into slices or sticks. You can use the hidden giant squash for this recipe, but if you do, trim out the seeds. Set-up a three-stage breading station: 1. Flour, 2. Beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper, 3. Breadcrumbs. Have a lined sheet pan available at the end of your station.
Coat a piece of squash in flour, dip in the egg, and coat in breadcrumbs pressing to cake. Put coated squash on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining slices. Chill for 10 minutes or more.
Heat ½” oil in a large heavy skillet or deep saucepan over medium heat. The oil is ready when a pinch of flour sizzles.
Put a few pieces of squash in the oil (do not crowd). When the bottoms are golden-brown (2-3 minutes), turn and cook the other side. Put squash on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Garnish with parsley & lemon, or parmesan cheese and black pepper. Serve with ranch dressing.
Summer Squash Dip
2 large summer squash (ends cut off and split in half lengthwise)
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic (peeled)
3 T tahini (sesame paste)
1 lemon, juice and zest
Salt and Pepper
Parsley for garnish
2 T pine nuts (toasted)
pinch red pepper flakes
Heat up grill or broiler. Trim squash and rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook until well charred and soft.
Puree in food processor with garlic, lemon juice, zest, and tahini paste. Season to taste and garnish with parsley, olive oil, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes
Serve with flatbread, crostini, or sliced vegetables.
1½ c flour
½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
2 t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
optional: 1 c chocolate chips (or chopped nuts, raisins, etc)
½ c vegetable oil
½ c packed light or dark brown sugar
½ c white sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 t vanilla extract
1 c shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5 (or 8×4) inch loaf pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, vanilla, and zucchini together until combined. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Gently whisk until just combined; do not overmix. Batter will be semi-thick.
Spread the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes. (I like to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent heavy browning on top.) The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with zero raw batter. Remove the bread from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.