Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stuffed Summer Squash–Autumnal Eats

With the Halloween come and past, now is a good a time as any to focus upon some comfort dishes that folks associate with these generally cooling months, or really cold depending on your location (or maybe hotter if you’re on the other side of the equator.)

So it is either very appropriate or weird that the featured ingredient of the first post focusing on this theme is summer squash. By the way, the word summer in summer squash however is more of a reference towards the short shelf life compared to the more durable winter squash.

These are the lovely squash I picked up at the farmers market last week, and they’ve been waiting patiently in the crisper for me to get to them. Two green pattypans and five sunburst squashes to be precise.

Though a little bit small, I thought these would be great to make stuffed squash.

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After looking at a few recipes for stuffed squash and after taking into account what other ingredients I had at home, this is what I came up with.

For seven smallish squash: you’ll need some black pepper, kosher salt, some kind of savory herb (dried or fresh works) two cups corn (I only used about one) and some cloves of garlic. Some onion might not have been a bad addition either. I didn’t use the parsley, so ignore that.

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First, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and place a sheet plan inside to heat as well.

Next, trim your squash, then cut in half. Then with a spoon or melon baller, remove seeds and enough flesh to leave some thin squash “shells.”

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Given how young and tender the seeds were in this squash, no discarding was necessary in this case.

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To save on dishwashing, you can use one of the shells to hold olive oil that you’ll be using to brush all of the shells with.

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Once brushed with oil, sprinkle with kosher salt. You don’t need a whole lot.

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Place your shells cut side down on your pan, then bake for fifteen to twenty minutes. If oddly sized, some will cook faster than others, so keep an eye on them after fifteen minutes! But don’t wait, there’s other work to do.

I used a toaster oven, which sufficed, but I think you’ll have better results with a normal oven. And it was a tight fit here with seven small squash.

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Now break down your squash innards into fine pieces.

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Several cuts through with a chef’s knife will do it.

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Heat up a cast iron pan on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of olive oil.

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Add your garlic, squash insides and onion if you’re using, then season with salt, pepper, and herbs if you’re using dried herbs. Sauté until it starts to brown.

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Once it starts to brown..

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It’s the perfect time to add your corn and herbs, if you’re using fresh. I should have added more corn here. If your squash shells are tender and ready to go, you can stuff right away, otherwise set to low heat or otherwise keep warm in the cast iron skillet until ready for stuffing. 

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Stuff the sautéed veggies into the shells, and serve hot!

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Stuffed Summer Squash Recipe

  • Seven to eight small summer squash or four medium sized ones, washed
  • Two generous cups of corn
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • kosher salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • teaspoon of dried savory herbs or tablespoon of fresh

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, place sheet pan inside.

Trim and halve summer squash. Spoon out and reserve seeds and flesh, leaving thin squash shells. Brush shells with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, then place cut side down on preheated sheet pan, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until tender and browned.

While shells are baking, finely chop the squash insides. Sauté squash insides with garlic and onion, sprinkling with salt and pepper and dried herbs if using. Once browned, add corn and fresh herbs, if using. Once shells are browned and ready, stuff with the sautéed mixture and serve immediately.

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