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Garden Lifestyle

Summer Squash Sauté

It's that time of year--the summer weather has arrived--and so the seasonal produce is just starting to come in: squash time!

  • This squash dish is fast and easy and quite delicious--you can vary it by adding an eggplant or green beans--or spice it up with a chile pepper. I like to serve it at room temp--so it is a good choice for a potluck. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Use any kind of squash you have on hand--I tend to pick my squash small since they are more tasty and tender.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Wash squash and onion, top and tail. Peel onions. If you use small onions and squash you can cut them into wedges, which is a nice change from rounds.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Cut the small onions into eighths.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Depending on the size of the squash, cut them into quarters or eighths--large bite-sized wedges.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Sometimes, I add a small eggplant--this is optional--they go good together.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Saute the onion, squash and eggplant with a bay leaf. While these are cooking, prepare the tomato and garlic.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Slice the tomato and sliver the garlic.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Stir all of the ingredients together and saute briefly, covered; don't let the vegetables overcook. Baby squash can cook in less than 5 minutes.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Cut the basil into chiffonade and add it to the vegetables. Turn off the heat and cover the pan for just 1 minute. Toss the basil and season with salt and pepper. Serve, or let cool to room temp with the lid slightly ajar.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Add kalamata olives for a garnish if desired.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Here's a plate with squash times two--summer squash saute and fried squash blossoms--yum!
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger

Ingredients:

Serves 6

2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 small onions, cut lengthwise into eight wedges or 1 medium-to-large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
About 1 1/2 to 2 pounds summer squash, if small cut into wedges, or sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
1 fresh bay leaf
4 to 5 cloves garlic, slivered
1 tomato, cored, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 small eggplant, cut into wedges, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large handful of basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (ribbons)
Kalamata olives for garnish, optional

This is a quick and easy way to prepare squash and it is very tasty. Use yellow or green squash, crookneck, zucchini, patty pan, lemon, or what have you. Sometimes, I go for straight squash, other times I add an eggplant or a handful of green beans-you can mess around with this. I often prefer summer vegetables served European-style at room temperature. I like to prepare this dish early in the day and then let it come to room temp, with the lid ajar, in a cool place and serve it at room temperature for supper. It is a good do-ahead to take to a potluck.

Heat a heavy skillet or tagine over medium heat for a minute and then add the olive oil. Add the onion and stir for a minute or two. Add the squash and bay leaf and sauté the vegetables over medium heat, covered, for about 4 minutes (if using eggplant stir it into the squash after a minute or two), until they are crisp-tender; baby squash may need less cooking time.

Stir in the garlic and tomato and season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Turn off heat, toss in the basil and cover for 1 minute. Add olives if desired, taste for seasoning. Serve hot or leave lid slightly ajar and let cool to room temperature.

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