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This public service announcement has been brought to you by fancyfoodfancy and eggs. Mercury is in retrograde. If you’ve recently found yourself more distracted than usual or have experienced a serious bout of indecisiveness or brain fog, Mercury is to blame. I had a feeling something was going on with the cosmos, but I thought it had do with the moon. After a little bit of googling, I found this. And then this. Being a Mercury ruled Virgo or Gemini will make you even more susceptible to all this retrograde business. So, if you have any big decisions to make, or serious discussions that need to be had, wait until after August 8th. I’ll be marking the next Mercury retrograde (November 6-26, 2012) on my calendar; you should do the same. You’ll thank me later. Good luck.
Now, let’s talk about eggs.
I’m an eggs for breakfast kind of girl. I have them just about every morning. Every now and then I mix it up and have oatmeal or a smoothie. But I always go back to eggs. It’s true. I feel like the day doesn’t start until I’ve had my two eggs – scrambled, over easy, poached. I don’t discriminate.
Surprisingly, I’ve never been much of a frittata fan. But I think that’s because I’ve had a few not so great frittatas in the past. This needed to be remedied.
The squash at the market last weekend looked too good to pass up, so I picked up a few varieties. As I was driving home and contemplating breakfast, I decided that my squash were destined for a fritatta. Eggs, cheese, and summer squash; the combination reminded me of the zucchini casserole my Aunt Maggie makes. I couldn’t wait to make breakfast.
I absolutely love this frittata. It was such a pleasant surprise. This particular frittata has layers of zucchini and yellow squash and is fragrant with thyme and lemon. A generous sprinkling of parmesan provides the perfect amount of savory richness. Frittatas are pretty much great for any meal. I see eggs for lunch and eggs for dinner in my future. And I couldn’t be more pleased.
summer squash frittata
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter, olive oil, or ghee
1/2 medium onion, diced
1-1/2 small squash, sliced into thin rounds
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the squash to the pan and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the squash is softened. Stir in the lemon zest and thyme and continue cooking for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Transfer the squash to the eggs and stir. In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium-high heat and coat the entire surface. Pour the egg mixture into the hot skillet and cook, undisturbed until the edges begin to brown and the top is just starting to set. Sprinkle the top of the fritta with more cheese and transfer the entire pan to the oven about 6 inches from the heating element and broil. Check after a minute or so, to ensure it doesn’t overcook. The frittata is ready when the top is fully set and nicely browned.
Remove from the oven. Run a thin spatula around the edges of the frittata to help loosen from the pan. Place a serving plate on top of the pan and then flip over to release the frittata. Serve immediately.
There has been a bit of a quiet countdown happening over here. On an almost daily basis, I’ve been reminding myself to make the most of these days, the end of summer, the end of my twenties. Stop. Take a few deep breaths. Be grateful. They’re going fast, these days.
Maybe you and I are alike in our efforts to savor these last weeks of summer. If so, I have something for you.
First, get yourself some summer squash, pick a few lemons from the neighbors tree (or the market), start up the grill and pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a beer, make your favorite cocktail – you get the picture. After a quick marinate in lemon, olive oil and minced garlic, grill up that gorgeous summer bounty and then throw it into a salad of Israeli couscous (not to be confused with traditional small grain couscous), feta and dill. Season with more lemon juice and zest, flaky salt and ground black pepper.
This little salad was born on a hot August evening in the mountains. I liked it so much that I had to make it again just a few weeks later. It’s bright. It’s savory. It’s summery. It’s one of my new favorites. It will be the perfect side dish for the end of summer shindig you’ll be attending this Labor Day weekend. It also makes a great mid-afternoon snack. Hold on to summer, grill everything in sight, dine outdoors, leave the windows open, pretend like it’s just beginning.
israeli couscous with grilled summer squash
2 cups dry Israeli couscous
8-10 small zucchini
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 lemons, zest and juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dill, roughly chopped
4 ounces feta, crumbled
fresh ground pepper
Prepare your grill outdoors. Alternately, you can use a stove-top grill pan or roast zucchini in the oven for about 8 minutes at 425F.
Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise from stem to base. Place in a shallow casserole dish or baking pan. Sprinkle the zest of one lemon and minced garlic over the zucchini. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of one lemon over the sliced zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Toss until all zucchini is well coated. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add the Israeli couscous and cook for 8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the couscous and then spread on a baking sheet in a even layer to cool.
After the zucchini have been marinating for 15-20 minutes, place them on the grill cut-side down. Leave them on the grill until they have nice charred markings and are tender but not limp, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside to cool. When the zucchini is cool enough to handle, slice into 1-inch pieces.
Transfer the cooled couscous to a large mixing bowl. Toss with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, remaining zest, salt and pepper. Add the feta, dill and sliced zucchini. Toss until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add more lemon juice or salt to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.