Friday, July 6, 2007
Summer squash, otherwise more commonly known as zucchini is a soft skinned, trailing vegetable that first offers its flowers for culinary possibilities (June 19, 2007), and then matures a elongated, round or sun-burst shaped fruit to enjoy. Its botanical kin, the hard skinned pumpkin, acorn, delicata, spaghetti are still a season away. The entire family of squash has its roots in the New World, however, the variety we refer to as zucchini it is a European mutant that was not seen in the United States until early in the 20th century…most likely brought over with Italian immigrants.
I prefer to buy zucchinis that are small to medium in size for they have a smaller seed pocket and are not as water saturated. The larger ones for me are destined to become a soup. All the skins are these tender summer squashes are edible though some may have a slightly bristly coating that should be scrubbed free from the vegetable. They are a fasting cooking lot not needing for than 10 minutes – if that long.
Grilled Chicken Breast with Summer Squash - serves 6
6 halved Chicken Breasts - boneless and skinless
1 lemon - juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
4 plum tomatoes - quartered
24 Kalamata olives - pitted
1/2 cup capers - drained
24 small patty pan squash
2 large red peppers - roasted, skinned and seeded, cut into 1/2” thick strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Mustard Dressing (recipe to follow)
Pre heat an outdoor grill or stove top grill pan to very hot.
Toss the chicken with the lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil to coat. Place on the hot grill, and cook about 5 minutes. You want to get a good "scoring" -- that is, grill marks -- on the meat
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the tomatoes, olives, capers, squash and peppers together, and place in the bottom of an oven proof 12x9 inch pan. Lay the chicken over the vegetables. Pour on the Mustard Dressing and cook for about 15 minutes in the oven. To serve lift a chicken breast out of the pan along with the vegetables bedded underneath it. Spoon over some of the Lemon Mustard Dressing. This dish is wonderful over your favorite pasta or Green Rice (page….)
Lemon/Mustard Dressing - 1 cup
2 Lemons - juice only
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoon Dijion mustard
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard,salt and pepper together, and then slowly whisk in the oil.
Stuffed Zucchini - serves 6
6 medium sized Patty pan squash or 3 small zucchini
5 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup Niçoise olives - pitted and chopped
1/4 cup blanched almonds - chopped
1/2 cup chives - chopped
1 tablespoon oregano - leaves only, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 cup Olive Oil
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the patty pan squash in half through its circumference. If using zucchini cut lengthwise in half. Scoop out 2/3’s of the pulp being careful not to make a hole in the bottom of the squash. Set the squash halves aside.
Chopped the pulp and mix with the goat cheese, olives, almonds, chives, oregano, salt and pepper. Divide the mixture among the squash halves and drizzle with oil. Place on a baking tray, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately hot.