Right now, I am on an island 30 miles out to sea where I have been for the past month. A place where many wonderful memories have evolved over the past 32 years, most notably meeting my adoring husband here in 1983.
Nantucket has changed a lot since then, but it still has a mysterious, magical feel to it that makes relaxing come very easily. Maybe it’s the island affect – because you really do feel far away from everything, as if you’ve disappeared to another world surrounded by soft misty ocean air.
There are so many things that I love about Nantucket. Besides the beach, food has always been on the top of the list. Back thirty years ago, I yearned for the homemade peanut butter cup ice cream from the Juice Bar or soft freshly baked breads, cakes and cookies from Something Natural, now I drool over the homegrown lettuces sold out of a bathtub at Moore’s End Farm or the local veggies from Bartlett’s Farm, as I ride my bike past the fields of vibrant colored wild flowers on the way there.
Though we’ve been eating out a lot the past month (way more than usual because the restaurants here are far superior to any back at home), I’ve also had some fun in my mom’s kitchen cooking up summer veggies garnished with fresh herbs from her garden. One of my favorites this summer has been patty pan squash. Last night for dinner I made sautéed patty pan squash and eggplant with some fresh slivered basil leaves. My whole family loved it!
Patty pan squash is a fun, colorful and unique looking summer vegetable that at first may seem a bit intimidating because of it’s unusual shape. But don’t let that fool you. When I first came across the saucer shaped (or like a toy top that spins) squash with scalloped edges, I thought, “this looks so cool, I’ve got to buy it!” Then, I quickly began to wonder, “what the heck am I going to do with it?”
With a little courage and creativity, I learned that patty pan squash is just as easy to prepare and cook as regular zucchini squash, but it has a slightly different texture and taste. Patty pan squash has a succulent sweet flavor with a touch of pepper. It can be roasted, steamed, grilled or sautéd. Here’s my favorite creation so far that goes really well with grilled fish, chicken or even some beans or lentils. Garnish it with fresh basil leaves and sliced avocado, yum!
Sautéd Baby Patty Pan Squash
6 individual patty pan squash
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper
fresh basil leaves, slivered
Wash squash well. Slice off top and bottom ends/tips of the squash (no need to peel them, the skin is edible and makes the squash hold it’s shape and flavor). Place squash end on a cutting board with the scalloped edges of the squash parallel to the board. Slice into thin rounds.
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add squash and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to evenly brown it. Want the heat to be high enough that the squash browns but doesn’t get too mushy. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 2-4 more minutes. Remember that veggies can be eaten raw, they do not need to be cooked for long! Garnish with fresh basil (roll leaves together then slice with a knife).
What’s your favorite way to cook summer squash? I’d love to know, leave me a comment below