Summer Squash Sauté
by Catherine Jones
Mid-July. Long days. Tan legs. Gentle ocean waves. Ice cream. And food that doesn’t need you at all. Sure you can assemble it, but it tastes great raw, barely cooked, in a salad, grilled, or straight out of a paper bag at the farm stand, your fingers dripping with vibrant berry goodness.
Sometimes it is fun to also not have a recipe, but to cook what is right in front of you, for the fun of it. At ECM, as you walk in, we have Vidalia onion, yellow squash and zucchini all on sale for $.99 per pound. I grabbed all of these treats along with some fresh basil, a stick of butter, and a slice of ricotta Salata. Then I set about making a summer saute starting by sweating the onion in butter — the first lure for customers because it is the most primal of enticing smells. Add the chopped up squash, saute until just caramelized, then remove from heat and garnish with fresh basil and ricotta Salata. The salty cold cheese pairs well perfectly with the soft, warm, buttery vegetable, a combination that tastes incredible at this time of year no matter what you do (or don’t) do to either ingredient. Sauteed summer squash is the essence of summer, like a raw tomato slice or a steaming ear of salt-and-pepper corn on the cob. Enjoy!
• 1 small Vidalia onion
• 2 zucchini
• 2 yellow squash
• 1 package or bunch fresh basil
• 1 piece ricotta Salata
• salt and pepper to taste
1. Dice onion finely.
2. Slice squash into 3/4 inch slices and then quarter each slice.
3. Julienne basil.
4. Slice and then coarsely chop ricotta salata.
5. In a saucepan over medium heat, saute butter and onion until just caramelized.
6. Add squash and saute over medium heat until caramelized as well, being careful not to overcook so that the veggies don’t soften too much. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Remove from heat and garnish with basil chiffonade and ricotta Salata (these don’t do well with heat — the basil turns dark and bitter and the cheese doesn’t melt). Serve immediately.
Catherine Jones has worked with food as the Executive Chef of the Yale Sustainable Food Project at Yale University, as the research editor for Gourmet Magazine, a restaurant critic for the New York Times, and a food editor at Martha Stewart Living. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and also was an undergrad at Yale University, so New Haven is dear to her heart.