The abundance of summer squash on the farm hasn't slowed, and that means I'm looking for new and interesting ways to cook it. Comment below with any suggestions you have, and your recipe may be featured in a future entry. In the meantime, here's a bit about summer squash, followed by a recipe for STUFFED "BASEBALL BAT" SUMMER SQUASH, which was dinner for the whole farm last night.
Just like people, summer squash comes in all different colors, shapes, and sizes.Zucchini is probably the most popular summer squash in the US (yup -- zucchini is just one variety of summer squash). There's also yellow zucchini, striped squash, crook-neck squash, and patty pan, just to name a few broad categories.
The different colors and varieties don't mean much in terms of how you use them. This is great to keep in mind, because a different squash can usually be used for recipe that calls for a specific variety, or you can mix and match summer squash to brighten up a meal.
While some people believe that certain varieties are more tender than others, I'm comfortably in the camp with folks who believe that the differences are so subtle that a splash of olive oil makes them all taste the same.Even though squash varieties have a lot in common, the shape and size can dictate what you want to make with it. Any type of squash can go in a quick saute or stir-fry, but it would be hard to make pasta from a crook-neck squash, rather than a more evenly-shaped variety. Grilling squash (which I highly recommend), usually demands fairly uniform pieces (try thick, lengthwise slices of different colors of squash with just a little olive oil and salt on a hot grill -- so good!).
Sometimes here are the farm we get squash we call "baseball bats." Squash grows quickly -- so much so that we have to pick it every day. Miss one plant for a day or two and you can end up with a baseball bat squash, which is exactly what we had sitting in our kitchen last night.
Luckily, these giants are still very much edible and perfect for stuffing. Want proof? Read all about last night's dinner below.
Squash is incredibly versatile and can be stuffed with almost anything, like ground meat or an abundance of vegetables and herbs (like I do below). It's mild flavor allows you to play broadly with the stuffing.
Note: You could absolutely stuff smaller squash that aren't "baseball bats." Try scooping out and stuffing patty pans for an adorable treat. Just cut a thin layer off the bottom so they can sit upright when cooked.
- Cut off stem of squash and cut lengthwise
- Scoop out interior, leaving a 1/4 to 1/2 inch shell (this can vary depending on the size of the squash)
- Cook up your stuffing -- being sure to include the interior you set aside My stuffing last night was made by sauteing onions, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, sage, and turmeric in olive oil. I added broccoli and the squash interior and let it cook briefly under a lid, then added two boiled potatoes and some breadcrumbs to help hold it all together. At the end I added some soy sauce for deeper flavor.
- Drizzle olive oil in each squash and rub it around; sprinkle a little salt in, too I put basil leaves in the base of each squash, which was delicious, but by no means necessary to make a good meal
- Fill the squash and put enough water in the cooking sheet to cover it (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch)
- Put it in the oven at 350º for about 35 minutes or until the squash is cooked through.
- Enjoy -- we sure did!