Eat It Before It Eats You…

22nd July, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Sides, easy, vegetarian

Every summer, it happens. Someone you know arrives at your door with an immense paper sack and a terrifying story to tell. Their soil is really rich, they explain; they’ve been cultivating it and amending with all the compost from the kitchen scraps and chicken coups. The weather has been especially good, you know. And, they forgot to prune before going on holiday, and the plants went totally out of control, stimulated by freak sunspot activity and increased gamma radiation from ozone layer depletion. And, their kid just discovered these while retrieving the dog’s ball after it had been thrown into the green danger zone where Fluffy won’t wander for fear of being devoured herself.

Yes, it’s the attack of the giant summer squash, the immense zucchini and yellow crooknecks that are almost apologetically presented to every co-worker, friend, and neighbor that can be reached by bicycle-drawn wheelbarrow. And, now, the zucchini that ate Cleveland sits menacingly on your kitchen counter, staring at you relentlessly with its unblinking green eye. What to do with it?

When these alien space squash and near-geriatric marrows reach such biblical proportions, they’re no longer really suitable for steaming or sautés, the preparations preferred for younger fruits. As they grow, they toughen and much of their sweetness is replaced by stronger, slightly more bitter flavours. But, all is not lost. Don’t just think of zucchini bread and baseball bats when these monsters invade. Roast them! It’s a great technique for imparting both tenderness and sweetness to the great beasts.

Ingredients – Serves 4-6

  • 1 summer squash monster, cut into approximately 1″ cubes
  • 1 or 2 sweet onions, cut into wedges (see method)
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled – cut large ones in half crosswise
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs from the garden, or 1 Tbsp of dried thyme, oregano, lavender, or Herbs de Provence
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Balsamic vinegar

Method – Active time, 10 minutes; Total time, about an hour

Preheat the oven to 350ËšF.

Cut the squash into roughly 1″ cubes. Cut the blossom from the onion, and trim the roots, but leave the root end intact. Slice it into 8 wedges; the root end will hold the wedges together.

Put the squash, garlic and onion into a roasting pan large enough to accommodate. Toss with the oil, salt, pepper, and herbs to coat.

Roast for 40-50 minutes until the onions are nicely caramelized and the squash is tender. Check ever 15-20 minutes, and give the veg a toss to ensure even cooking.

Remove from the oven, and add the balsamic vinegar, tossing to distribute evenly. Work quickly, since the pan is still hot, and the liquids will evaporate.

Adjust seasoning, and serve.

For variety, add tomatoes, fresh or tinned, peppers, or chiles. Experiment and enjoy!

2 Responses

  1. G.L. Pease Says:

    Last night, burritos with manchego, Eye of Goat beans, seasoned rice, and leftover roasted zucchini from the night before. Wonderful!

  2. Dan Schell Says:

    You make my mouth water at your words. I can hardly wait to get back home so I can cook again (expected back in early/mid June, so will be getting close to in season, mmm)

    Thanks Greg!