Monday, August 1, 2011

Suspicious Veggie

I'm quite sure I've mentioned before the heavy-laden hesitancy with which I regard summer squash. Turn your back and squash multiplies. One plant produces enough to feed a 3rd world country. Neighbors sneak bags of it onto others' doorsteps in the night... and run. It's all so cruel- the color is so bright and sunny, their shape is quirky and endearing, but the taste is always, sadly, un-redeemably bitter. Indecent amounts of butter, breading, soy sauce, and lemon juice don't necessarily help matters. Many of you have tried to convince me that it's really not that bad. But it is. (Can I get a witness?)

Though, I made a squash soup earlier this season. And I'll begrudgingly admit that I actually did enjoy it. Despite the subtle bitter undertone. Our kids will eat squash (usually without threats or bribery) when cut into wedges, breaded, and fried/baked, but it's really not our favorite. Understatement.

I can't honestly say that I have ever served or been served a summer squash dish that left me wanting more, that led me to promise our guests and my own family that I'd make it again soon. I really hadn't anticipated such a stunning squash success. The components are nothing extraordinary- just basic Italian flavors. Using very fresh, juicy squash (preferably picked right off the vine) certainly helps. Suddenly I do not dread the pounds of yellow squash that are sure to arrive in our CSA boxes again and again in the coming weeks. (big grin) I feel like I true success when I can serve an inherently suspicious vegetable and have the dish licked clean. (Yes, A&A, we shall all be proud together!)

Though we don't bemoan unbearably hot temps here in San Francisco in the summertime, this dish carries the extra-bonus of requiring no oven, stovetop, or even grill to be produced. Which I think many of you will appreciate.

Zucchini doesn't turn my lip in quite the same way as it's golden cousin and has more versatility (sweet and savory quick breads, zucchini pickles, etc). If you have as great a glut of green summer squash as I have had of yellow, you can use one color, the other, or both in this easy salad.

This recipe is very closely drawn from a recent issue of bon appetit. I adore and admire alliteration in their title, so I'll adopt it...

Shaved Summer Squash Salad
serves 4-5

1/4 c whole almonds
1 1/2 lb fresh summer squash
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 minced/pressed garlic clove
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c baby arugula
1/2 c shavings of Parmesan cheese

Roast almonds (350degF for +/-10min) and coarsely chop.

Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl or platter, whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic clove, kosher salt, and ground pepper to taste.

Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the squash lengthwise into strips (avoid the very center, rotating squash to shave off the other layers) and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Add a few handfuls of baby arugula on top. Shave Parmesan generously (roughly 1/2 c) over the squash.

Toss the salad just before serving, seasoning with additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as desired. Sprinkle with chopped, toasted almonds.

1 comment:

  1. We are going to try this recipe this weekend, with squash and arugula bought from our local Oakmont Farmers Market in Havertown, PA! Thanks so much for posting it! - Kaley