Cook's Illustrated (September/October 2015)
In these waning days of summer, we're finding ourselves a little clingy with produce.
Like hoarders at a going-out-of-business sale, we're scarfing down all the tomatoes, corn, eggplant and beans that we can. We're getting it from our CSA, the farmers market, the supermarket and our own backyard garden. (How veggie-crazy have we been? When a friend posted on Facebook this week about his bumper crop of tomatoes that he wanted to give away, we had a brief moment of "should we??" --despite the fact that we already have more tomatoes than we know what to do with.)
In particular this year, we've had a lot of summer squash in our house, but no thanks to our own garden. Our garden squash has struggled (we have yet to harvest more than one, and whatever we harvested wasn't what we'd planted!). Our CSA, though, has given us big piles of squash and zucchini each week.
But here's the deal with late-summer produce: It's easy to fall into a rut.
That tomato salad that tasted amazing the first time you made it can seem a bit bland after a half dozen meals. So we're all about keeping it fresh and trying the new, even in the final days of summer.
Case in point: these beautiful Sautéed Summer Squash with Parsley and Garlic, which instantly became a summer classic for us.
The technique here is all thanks to a vegetable peeler. Just run the peeler down the length of the vegetable to create strips. When you start to get to the seeds at the core, you rotate and start peeling the next side.
(BTW, if any of you have a vegetable peeler you love, please recommend it. Ours are fine but we're not in love with it, and each time we use it we think, "We should really get a new vegetable peeler...")
What's brilliant about this dish is that, by discarding the core and the seeds of the squash, you cut out the time it takes to cook out all that watery flesh. As a result, these thin ribbons get sautéed in just a bit of oil, in just about 3 minutes. Then you toss with a crazy-simple dressing and some fresh parsley.
We're in love with this take on squash; we've already made it twice in the span of a week. And yes, we still have more squash in our fridge...
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
4 yellow squashes and/or zucchini (8 ounces each), trimmed
7 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Combine garlic and lemon juice in large bowl and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Using vegetable peeler, shave each squash lengthwise into ribbons. Peel off 3 ribbons from 1 side, then turn squash 90 degrees and peel off 3 more ribbons. Continue to turn and peel ribbons until you reach seeds. Discard core.
2. Whisk 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and lemon zest into garlic mixture.
3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add squash and cook, tossing occasionally with tongs, until squash has softened and is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer squash to bowl with dressing, add 1 tablespoon parsley, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley. Serve immediately.
TECHNIQUE: MAKING SQUASH RIBBONS -- Holding squash at slight angle, peel from the top downward. Rotate squash every few strokes, stopping when you reach the seedy core. A stack of four ribbons should be only 1/4 inch thick.