Jerri’s Sautéed Yellow Squash

Yellow squash is one of the summer squashes, a cousin of zucchini and pattypan. There are straight and crookneck varieties. They taste the same to us and we use either for this recipe.

Yellow squash is native to the Americas. It grows well from Wisconsin to Florida, though the plants are very sensitive to frost. There are scores if not hundreds of recipes for fried, steamed or sautéed yellow squash. Jerri’s version is simple but colorful. She has been making it since we were married, and we are still hitched, so you know it’s good.

When we lived in Virginia we had to depend on friends to supply us with those pretty yellow fruits, but a couple of months after I dug up a piece of lawn behind our house in Kentucky, we had enough to share with our friends. A year or two later I became a squash fanatic. There are so many varieties of squash that it is easy to fall in love with the things.

It takes about ten minutes to put this side dish on your table, so give it a try when you need a vegetable with a mild but fresh flavor to complement the main dish on a busy day. Yellow squash also happens to have a lot of dietary fiber and is very high in vitamins A and C, so it’s good for you too.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups yellow squash
1/4 – 1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

PROCEDURE:

Wash and chop the squash and onion and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan, Sauté the onion until it is translucent, then add the squash, salt and pepper. Continue cooking for three or four minutes until the squash starts to become tender. Add the tomatoes and cook another minute or so until they release their juices.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

NOTES: Choose squash that are one to two inches in diameter. Set larger ones aside for a Squash Casserole. Do not peel them, but remove the stem and blossom ends. You can use any kind of tomato. Grape tomatoes cut in half or larger varieties chopped into bite-sized pieces work equally well.

Jerri removes the outer layers from an onion, slices enough to make a generous quarter cup or more, then chops the slices into inch-long pieces.

The quantities in this recipe make two generous servings, but you can easily double or triple the amounts to produce enough to serve more guests.

Jerri’s Yellow Squash Casserole

One of the first cookbooks we bought after our marriage came as a bonus for joining a book club. It is called House and Garden’s New Cook Book. Our copy was printed in the United States of America in 1967. It’s a handsome book filled with recipes that sound intriguing—names like “Gigot en Croute” and “Veal Calvados” are representative—but the first recipe seemed like an awful lot of work, and we couldn’t lay our hands on any calvados for the second.

The upshot was that we didn’t cook many of the recipes in the book. Jerri did find one that became a staple summer dish in the Rang household, however. It’s called “Arabian Squash Casserole” in the book, but we just call it “Yellow Squash Casserole.” The original recipe called for peeling the squash, but after making it that way, Jerri tried unpeeled young yellow squash. The skin adds color and, we think, flavor to the dish.

Jerri also reduced the quantities of ingredients to make a side dish that will serve four to six people. It goes well with just about any kind of meat from barbecued ribs to roast chicken.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs. yellow summer squash
2 tsp. salt
1 cup grated medium or sharp Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup cottage cheese
3 large eggs
2/3 cup bread crumbs
2 T minced parsley
1/3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 T butter

PROCEDURE:

Wash and remove the stems and blossom scars from the squash. Grate the squash into a mixing bowl and mix it with the salt. Let it stand for twenty to thirty minutes. Preheat the oven to 350º.

While the grated squash is resting, wash and mince the parsley and set it aside. Grease a two quart casserole and grate the cheese, then drain the squash thoroughly in a colander. Press as much liquid out of the squash as you can.

Melt about three tablespoons of butter in a small dish or pan. Beat the eggs in the mixing bowl until they are lemon colored, then stir in the grated squash along with the cheeses, bread crumbs, parsley and pepper. Mix everything thoroughly and spoon the batter into the casserole. Pour the butter evenly over the top and bake at 350º for an hour.

NOTES: You can use either straight or crookneck yellow squash for this casserole. Choose ones no larger than two inches in diameter. If you do have larger squash, you may want to peel them. When we have done this, we have left narrow stripes of the yellow skin on the squash.