Sunday, July 12, 2009

A recipe - Farmers Market Summer Squash in Yogurt "Sauce"

The summer squash concoction I just made was so good that I need to write down the recipe, and why not share it? I am sure part of its success was the quality of the summer squash. I kept eating pieces of it raw while I was waiting for there to be room in the frying pan.
While at the farmers market, I believed that I had read, back in NJ, a food blog with a recipe for yellow summer squash in a slightly sour cream sauce with cilantro. I can only imagine that I was thinking of this recipe for Buttermilk Summer Squash Soup. Well, I did not want to make soup, so here's what I made.

I used the following:

1 medium-sized + 1 small yellow summer squash; cut into thin (1/8-1/4") coins. I don't know the variety but they had not-too-thin (but not tough, either) dark yellow skin. I would estimate that it was 3/4 lb.
1 large and 1 small ramp bulb (shallots, a small amount of onion, or scallion would do fine); chopped
1 clove of garlic; chopped
2 dried tepin chili peppers; crushed with your fingers or a mortar and pestle (any would do, including pre-ground cayenne pepper)
olive oil (unmeasured)
Trader Joe's "European-style" whole milk yogurt - the key is yogurt with some fat, and the only reason I'm listing what kind of yogurt I used is that this yogurt was very sour. I think I used about 1/2 a cup.
Cilantro; roughly chopped - 2 or 3 tsp
A very small amount of lemon zest--maybe 1 tsp or so?
Sea salt, to taste

Cooking stuff needed:
A good skillet (mine is cast iron)
A bowl that can have hot things put in it (ceramic, glass, metal)
A spoon
A spatula

What I did:
I heated a small amount of olive oil in the skillet. When it was heated, I added 1 crushed chili pepper, a little bit of sea salt, and the chopped ramps, and spread everything out in the pan so it would cook evenly. After 3-5 minutes, I added the chopped garlic and gave everything a good stir. I threw in a generous pinch of lemon zest. I cooked these until the garlic and ramps were partially browned. While this was happening, I sliced the yellow squash (skin on.) Once everything in the pan was done cooking, I dumped everything--including most of the olive oil--into a ceramic bowl.
The remainder of the cooking process is simply pan-frying the yellow squash to desired brownness. After a few minutes, when the ramps/garlic/olive oil/etc. weren't too hot, I added to the ceramic bowl some yogurt, the chopped cilantro, another crushed chili pepper, and the remaining lemon zest. I mixed it all together and let it sit for awhile.
Since you probably can't fit all the yellow squash pieces in one pan, a good way to test the yogurt sauce is to dip pieces of uncooked squash into it, like chips. Adjust the seasonings--add more salt, chili pepper, maybe even garlic (I'm not too sure about that though) or lemon or cilantro.
Have a plate or bowl or something ready for the squash pieces. Once they are done cooking and aren't too hot, mix them into the yogurt combination. Eat. Yum.

I bet this would be good with rice or pasta. All of the sour tastes (lemon, yogurt, cilantro) work really well with the squash, especially the fried pieces. Actually, what this tastes like to me is...strangely...these cilantro-flavored snacks that Angela and I found next to potato chips at a Subzi Mandi. Except healthier, I think.

I think this yogurt sauce would probably be a good vegetable or chip dip for parties.

Serves: Could probably serve 2, but I just ate the whole thing myself

I plan to try making this recipe for Fresh Pea and Mint Pesto--or just tossing the peas in olive oil with mint leaves and cacao nibs because I have this strange idea that peas, mint, and chocolate will be good together--and making cilantro pesto with my remaining cilantro. I also plan on cooking the small amount of rhubarb I bought with some chopped red onion.

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