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Making the most of squash


The abbey garden is cranking out squash faster than the abbey kitchen can handle it. Squash has been on the menu almost every day. Squash can be one of the most boring vegetables in the world, so preparing it is a big challenge.

Everyone’s favorite squash dish, of course, is sliced squash dipped in batter and fried. That’s a great treat, but it’s a bit too high carb and high fat to have too often. Not to mention that it makes a big mess in the kitchen. The healthiest way I know to make good squash is to sear it in a skillet. Done poorly, the squash becomes hopelessly watery. However, if done carefully, the squash can be very appealing. It won’t turn to mush, and browning it adds a lot of flavor.

Use a hot skillet with a little oil. Olive oil can’t take higher heat, so I use sesame oil, sunflower oil, or even grapeseed oil. Salt makes vegetables release their water, so I don’t salt squash while it’s being cooked.

You want the pan to be not quite hot enough to smoke, but hot enough that the squash will brown in only a few minutes. Any water released by the squash (which won’t be much if you give it just a few minutes of high heat) will dry up in the pan.

To make up for the lack of salt, serve the squash with some sort of salty sauce. One of the abbey’s favorite sauces is what I call “cucumber sauce.” That’s a chilled sauce made of about 3/4 sour cream and 1/4 mayonnaise, seasoned with salt and pepper.

One Comment

  1. Jo wrote:

    Thanks. My next squash dish will be prepared this way. Onions are good with squash, so am thinking sautéed Vidalia onions could be a side dish.

    Monday, June 30, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

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