Summer squash galette
A great recipe to have in your arsenal for last-minute lunches or light dinners. Just serve a mixed-lettuce salad with this and you’re good to go.
• 1 medium zucchini squash, cut into 1/4-inch rounds and quartered
• 1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch rounds and quartered
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Sea salt and pepper
• 1 cup ricotta
• 1 cup shredded Parmesan/Asiago/fontina/provolone (or any of these on their own)
• 1 roasted Hatch green chile, skins removed and chopped
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• Fresh chives
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and placed in freezer ahead of time
• 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Put squash pieces on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, add olive oil and some salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Cook until lightly browned, turning the pieces as needed, about 20 minutes.
3. While the squash is roasting, make galette dough. Put flour, sugar and sea salt in a food processor and pulse a time or two. Add butter and pulse quickly, just until the butter is the size of small and largish pebbles. Slowly add ice water while pulsing, using only as much as needed — just until the dough starts to come together but is still quite crumbly, and you can pinch it together easily with your fingertips. Dump the dough bits directly onto a piece of plastic wrap and gently press together into a fat disc. Wrap it up and refrigerate for an hour.
4. Mix together cheeses, chopped chile, egg and chives. When the squash has cooled, fold into the cheese mixture.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. To assemble your galette, roll out the dough into a roundish shape (it doesn’t have to be perfect) about 1/8 inch thick. Using the rolling pin, lift it and unroll it onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Spoon the squash-ricotta mixture in the middle and spread it out a bit, leaving 2 to 3 inches of border. Fold the dough over into the middle. For a shiny crust, brush it with part of an egg white mixed with water. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the middle is set. If serving this warm, let it cool a little before serving. This is also lovely at room temperature, and would be great for a picnic.
Cowgirl tip: All of the steps of this recipe — roasting the squash, making the dough and mixing the cheeses — can be done in advance and the galette assembled later.
Nutritional information per serving:
Spanish tortilla with zucchini
Serves 8 to 10
I was at a tapas bar in Madrid a few years ago and ordered the tortilla with my vino tinto, expecting the classic potato omelet. Instead, I was served an all-zucchini version, and it was wonderful. So I decided to combine the two. This is not only fabulous for an appetizer or tapas, it’s also a great way to use summer potatoes, onions and zucchini.
• 2 cups canola oil
• 1 pound potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, cut into 1/8-inch slices
• 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
• 1 to 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch slices
• 4 eggs
• Sea salt
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Keep the heat on medium to medium-high so the oil doesn’t splatter. Carefully add potato slices one at a time so they don’t stick together, then add a layer of onion and zucchini, lightly salting as you go. Repeat the layers until all of the vegetables are in the oil. (You’re not really frying them — you’re boiling them until they’re tender.) Watch this closely and turn the veggies occasionally with a slotted spatula. When the potatoes have softened — you don’t want them to brown, although if a few of them do, that’s OK — remove all of the veggies and drain in a colander. Save the onion-perfumed oil.
2. Beat eggs in a large bowl, and add potatoes, zucchini and onions, making sure to completely cover the veggies with the eggs. Let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Put a couple tablespoons of the oil back into skillet and turn heat to medium-high (the high heat will keep the eggs from sticking). Add veggies, spreading them out evenly. Reduce heat to medium. When the eggs begin to brown, give the pan a shake, then invert the tortilla onto a flat plate about the size of your skillet. Now slide the tortilla back into the skillet so the other side can brown, too. Once it sets up, it’ll become easier to flip over — so flip it back to the original side and then back again a time or two to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. When it’s ready, transfer to a large plate or platter and let cool before serving.
Cowgirl tip: Make this the morning of and serve it later that day at room temperature, or cut it into squares and put them in a warm oven (200 degrees) until heated through.
Nutritional information per serving, based on 8: 213 calories, 16 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 106 milligrams cholesterol, 54 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 68 percent of calories from fat.
Squash and black bean tacos
Makes 4 to 6 tacos
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• 2 tablespoons diced red onion
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1/8 teaspoon cumin
• Sea salt and pepper
• 2 medium yellow squash, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds and quartered
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 to 6 corn tortillas
• About 1/4 cup queso fresco or goat cheese crumbles
• A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
• Lime wedges
• Valentina sauce or your favorite salsa, for serving
1. Put canola oil into a small saucepan and add red onion. Turn heat to medium and let cook just until you can smell the onion and it softens slightly. Reduce heat to medium-low and add black beans, cumin, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
2. While the beans are cooking, roast the squash. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. Put the squash onto the cookie sheet. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Cook for 20 minutes or until lightly browned, making sure to turn the squash pieces so they cook evenly.
3. Add squash to the beans and serve right away with corn tortillas, a sprinkle of queso fresco or goat cheese, chopped cilantro and lime wedges. I like a splash or two of Valentina sauce, too.
Nutritional information per taco, based on 4: 285 calories, 14 grams fat, 30 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein, 7 milligrams cholesterol, 388 milligrams sodium, 8 grams dietary fiber, 45 percent of calories from fat.
Zucchini and baby spinach beignets with mint yogurt sauce
Makes about 3 dozen bite-size beignets
I love these for a party. You can make them the morning of or a day ahead, and either serve them at room temperature or warm them up.
• 1 medium zucchini, grated and put in a colander to drain
• A big handful of baby spinach, finely chopped
• 8 big, fresh basil leaves, chopped
• 8 big, fresh mint leaves, chopped
• 3 green onions, chopped
• 1/2 cup flour
• A pinch fresh nutmeg
• Sea salt and pepper
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 cup Greek yogurt
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 4 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1. Squeeze all the water out of the zucchini with your hands or a potato ricer and put in a large bowl. Add baby spinach, basil, mint, green onions, flour, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss. Taste for seasonings.
2. Put canola oil into a large nonstick skillet and turn heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, put tablespoonfuls of the zucchini mixture into the hot skillet, gently pressing down on each beignet to flatten it out a bit. Let these cook until they’re brown on one side, then flip and cook until golden. Remove and place on paper towels.
3. Whisk together Greek yogurt, olive oil, mint, and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve on the side with the cooled beignets (I like them just slightly warm or at room temperature).
Nutritional information per beignet: 21 calories, 1 gram fat, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, trace cholesterol, 7 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 45 percent of calories from fat.
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About this time of year — summer’s very slow fade into fall — the man who lives down the road from my mom leaves one or two squash on her door every day. She’ll tell me about this with a sigh, as if having too much is a problem.
Even when it’s not delivered free to your doorstep, summer squash — I’m talking long green zucchinis ( courgettes
in France) and the yellow varieties, with or without a curvy neck — is one of the cheapest veggies around, and one of the easiest and quickest to prepare. It’s super low in calories, at just 17 per 3 1/2 ounces; a great source of vitamins C and A and potassium; and a terrific antioxidant.
Plus the bright green and yellow are cheerful, and the flavor is delicate and slightly sweet. What’s not to love?
Seems to me there is not enough done with summer squash that is interesting or different from the way it has always been prepared, otherwise an abundance wouldn’t seem like such a burden.
Sure, you can throw some cheese in a bowl with eggs and turn yellow squash into a tasty soufflé (which I’ve done many times), and you can make the standby zucchini bread, but there are so many other ways to enjoy these guys that this summer, I’ve been experimenting with squash like never before.
In France, finding yellow squash at the markets during the summer was a rare treat; the long green zucchini is the default squash there and used in far more dishes than over here. Stuffed, sliced or grated, zucchini is a key ingredient in lots of Mediterranean cooking, and featured in all sorts of things, from the classic ratatouille to tarts, pastas, quiches and salads. I first tasted zucchini soup in Paris and loved it so much that I created a recipe for my book.
Call me squash-crazy if you want. I love it all, from stuffing the delicate flowers with goat cheese and baking them just until the cheese softens, to roasting chunks of the green and yellow and serving it as a side dish for just about anything I’m in the mood for, from salmon to lamb.
For the first time, I grew my own yellow squash this year, but my enormous plant mysteriously died about two weeks ago. So if you’ve got any extra, you can just leave them near my wooden gate next to the red pickup truck. I’ll leave a basket outside just in case. Thanks in advance.
Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of “Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent” (Running Press, $25). www.cowgirlchef.com; @cowgirlchef.
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