Abundant Recipes: Summer Squash

Summer SquashThere’s only one thing more abundant this time of year than zucchini and crookneck: summer squash recipes! Of course, squash isn’t the only thing coming in abundance from our gardens in August. And there-in lies a clue as to how we should use this bounty. What grows together, goes together.

That’s exactly the principle Dani over at Clean and Delicious operates under when putting together her Raw Summer Squash Salad with Feta and Tomato. She combines squash, cherry tomatoes (who doesn’t have a lot of those in the garden now?), basil, olive oil, lemon juice, feta cheese, and salt and pepper into a refreshing first course. Our variation? Add a pinch (or three) of chile flakes to bring out the flavors.

As much as we love grilling and sautéing zucchini and yellow squash, using it raw has its attractions. As Dani… or almost anyone… will tell you: when using raw summer squash, slice it thinly. A mandolin is a handy implement for this. Some people use their Cusinart, but we find this too much trouble (and a bit wasteful). A good sharp paring knife and close attention to what you’re slicing is our preferred method. To the obvious rule of “keep it thin” we’d add “keep it small.” Baby squash have a milder flavor that takes well to raw dishes. Those big overgrown zucchini you overlooked before picking? They’re best saved for art projects. Here’s another recipe for using raw squash in a salad, this time with arugula. You did plant a late summer cop of arugula, didn’t you?

Have an abundance of corn as well as squash? The two are perfect for grows-together-goes-together salads. Nothing could be simpler than this squash-and-corn salad from the Sweet Beet blog. If you like the taste of grilled corn — and who doesn’t? — here’s a grilled corn and summer squash salsa that does just that.

Marinating is a great way to prepare summer squash for — or in — a salad. Young summer squash, especially zucchini, is a blank slate and the flavors of any ingredient it’s combined with will be writ large. The general rule here is not to use too much oil, vinegar, or lemon juice. We want to avoid limp and soggy squash. Chick In the Kitchen combines both yellow squash and zucchini with sliced red pepper and shallots to come up with a sharp, distinctive side dish. Don’t marinate the ingredients too long ahead of serving. We’d make one change to her directions. Health-conscious types will want to avoid marinating in a plastic bag. Always use a non-reactive glass container for anything that’s even slightly acidic.

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