Last year my husband planted a banner crop of cucumbers in the tiny plot on the side of our house that gets any measurable amount of sun. We made tons of pickles and cucumber soups and salads, so much so that we all begged him to try something different this year, so zucchini and summer squash it was. And for a few weeks we got maybe 6 or 7 nice ones and then sadly our squash and zucchini plants seem to have died and all of the recipes that I had ready to go, using our own homegrown specimens, have been sitting around gathering dust. I didn't want to have to go out and buy zucchini--we were supposed to be swimming in it by now, but this particular recipe really called out to me, so I broke down and bought a couple of pounds, and guys, it was totally worth it!! For all you green thumbers out there, this is one terrific way to use up a banner crop!!
This is a lovely side dish that would go well with just about anything you serve. In fact, the night I served it, I had made a dud of a new recipe, that I definitely will not be blogging about here, and this squash saute was the star of the meal. I mean it, no leftovers and no complaints! Plus, it's a great excuse to pull out the mandoline. You can definitely cut the zucchini and squash by hand, but it goes so much faster with a mandoline or julienne peeler.
Once you've cut up all the squash, you sprinkle it with salt and let it sit in a colander for about 10 minutes, to help drain as much moisture as possible out of the veggies. Then you squeeze them by handfuls to remove any more water, and that's basically the most time-consuming part.
The rest is just a matter of toasting some sliced almonds and sauteeing up the veggies with a little garlic, red pepper flakes and grated Parmesan. It's light, creamy, flavorful and a little bit different. Definitely a keeper and a good incentive to try another crop of the stuff next year!!
Matchstick Summer Squash Saute
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes total
2 pounds summer squash and/or zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1-2 shakes red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place cut-up squash in a colander set over a large bowl and toss with the kosher salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Discard any liquid that drains into the bowl. Then by small handfuls over the sink, squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the rest of the squash. Set aside.
2. While squash is sitting for 10 minutes, toast the sliced almonds in a large dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the nuts are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small plate. Set aside.
3. Add the oil to the same skillet and cook the garlic and red pepper flakes for about 2 minutes, stirring often. You don't want the garlic to get browned. Then add the squash and cook for about 5 minutes, tossing every now and then, until the squash is crisp-tender. Fold in the Parmesan and season with the salt and pepper. Fold in 3/4 of the almonds. Remove from the heat and serve immediately, using the remaining almonds to garnish the dish.
Note: Recipe adapted from a 2013 Bon Appetit Magazine issue.