The Embarrassment of Squashes
The Embarrassment of Squashes
[reposted from my website www.lemonsandbeans.com
There is a period in late summer when the stands at the local farmer’s market are pretty bare. This period is over. There have been a profusion of Yellow Zucchini, Okra (Purple and the regular kind), Mustard Greens, Crabs… you get the idea. Anyway, I have brought home a couple of pounds of the Yellow Zucchini the past two weeks. Delicious. Below are two recipes that showcase these stellar members of the squash family. The Zucchini benefits from a little drying in the oven prior to inclusion in many recipes as they have so much water in them.
When I made the Gratin, it was a bit too soupy. This problem has been corrected in the recipe below. You will also notice me going back to the fresh Basil and Tarragon mixture for both recipes. In spite of several large batches of Pesto, I still have an embarrassing wealth of Basil. So, into the pot it goes. I have a pound of Lump Crab as well. It is never hard to find ways to use Crab. I also bought some local Roasted Red Pepper Goat Cheese spread and another whole Chicken from the good people at Yard Bird Farms. He will end up in the Cookshack, this time with some Wine Staves in the smoke box.
<b>Asparagus and Sweet Pepper Cream Soup</b>
1c Sweet Peppers, a variety, chopped
1lb Asparagus, tough ends removed, chopped
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, sliced
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
¼ c Oloroso Sherry
3T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Bouquet Garni of Lemon Thyme
1t Crystal Hot Sauce
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
1q Vegetable Stock
¼ c + 2T White Rice
½ c Grated Parmesan Cheese
Heat the Butter in a large pot or Dutch Oven. Sauté the Onions and Garlic in the Butter until soft. Add the Carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the Sweet Peppers and Asparagus and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the Bouquet Garni, Sherry and Cider Vinegar. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Salt, Paprika, Hot Sauce and Bitters. Stir to combine and add the Stock and Water. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the Bouquet Garni and add the Rice. Cook for 20 minutes. Puree with and Immersion tender or in small batches in a blender (be careful, it will shoot out if you try to process too much at one time). Add the cream, stir in the Cheese and adjust the taste with additional Hot Sauce and Sherry. Eat greedily.
<b>Yellow Zucchini and Tomato Gratin</b>
3 lb Yellow Zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thin, along the length
1 Yellow Onion, sliced into thin rings and cut in half
2 lb Fresh Roma Tomatoes, sliced thin
1¾ c Milk
¼ c Heavy Cream
½ lb Swiss Cheese, grated
¼ c Parmesan Cheese, grated
½ c Fresh Basil, chopped
2 T Fresh Tarragon, chopped
2 T Butter
3 T Flour
¼ c Sherry
1 t Salt
1 t Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 t Paprika, Onions Powder, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Thyme mix
Dash Hot Sauce
Pre-heat the over to 375F. Oil the Zucchini and Tomatoes with the Corn Oil and spread them on a baking sheet; sprinkle with Creole Seasoning. Bake Zucchini and Tomatoes for 45 minutes. Warm the Milk and Heavy Cream in a 4-6 quart pot. Whisk in the Flour once the milk is heated. Add the Butter and continue to whisk until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the Fresh Basil and Tarragon to the sauce and continue to heat until a nappe consistency is reached. Whisk in the Butter, Sherry, Salt, Pepper, Spice Mix, Nutmeg and Hot Sauce. Remove from the heat. Layer the Yellow Zucchini, Onion and Tomato slices in an oiled baking dish. After the Tomatoes, sprinkle a generous portion of the blended Cheeses on to the vegetable. Repeat until the Vegetables are exhausted. Pour the Herb Sauce (adapted Veloute) over the dish. Top with the remaining Cheese. Bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbling.
<b>Yellow Zucchini and Daisy Cheddar Soup</b>
2½ to 3lb Yellow Zucchini, cut into ¼ inch strips
2T Corn Oil
2T Creole Seasoning Mix (make your own people)
2T Bacon Drippings
1 Sweet Onion, diced
2 Carrots, diced
4 Celery Ribs, diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1t Fresh Tarragon, minced
¼ c Fresh Basil, minced
1¼ c Fresh Bread Crumbs (Sourdough adds some real character)
1½ c Daisy Cheddar, crumbled (grated, whatever)
¼ c Romano Cheese, crumbled
2T Apple Cider Vinegar
½ c Dry Vermouth
1t Ancho Chile Powder
1 Bay Leaf
½ t Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 q Vegetable or Chicken Stock
1 Lemon, juiced
Dash Crystal Hot Sauce
Dash Angostura Butters
Pre-heat the over to 375F. Oil the Zucchini with the Corn Oil and prostrate them on a baking sheet; sprinkle with Creole Seasoning. Bake Zucchini for 45 minutes. Heat the Bacon Drippings, over medium-high heat, in your finest soup pot. Add the aromatics in order of cooking time. Onion, Carrots, Celery then Bell Peppers. Sauté for 7 minutes or until the Onions are translucent. Add the Tarragon and Basil and sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Add the Chili Power, Hot Sauce, Bitters, Black Pepper and Bay Leaf. Deglaze with the Vermouth and Cider Vinegar. Add the Stock and simmer until redolent, but for no more than 45 minutes. Remove the Bay Leaf. Puree the soup with an immersion blender. Add the Cheeses and Bread Crumbs. Allow to return to temperature and puree again. Stir in the Lemon Juice. Add salt as needed. Take a nap if it is a rainy day.
I looked at these recipes and thought, "This man lives in Louisiana." And I infer from looking at your web site that that may be true. I think I will try one or two of these. (With the hot sauce toned down for my Minnesota Scandinatian taste buds.) I like the idea of roasting the zucchini a bit to make it less watery.
Here's another squash idea from a man who was buying a ton of delicata squash at our coop. He rubs them with oil, cuts them in half lengthwise and roasts them with a spiced wild rice or other mixture (barley, quinoa or anything) with vegetables. He used maple syrup with fresh mint steeped in it in the rice. He said that the skin on the delicata squash is thin, so you can eat it once roasted. And the shape lends itself for stuffing.
Haha, yes I do live in Louisiana! I guess it comes through about when you mention strange bitters, bacon fat and mustard greens (though I hope these joys are known beyond my little state).
Your maple syrup and mint suggestion sounds wonderful, I think I will try it with quinoa. I have heard some people here talk down summer squash. I am glad to know there are other partisans out there.