I know I am going to be sick of squash before the summer is over. You’ve heard the stories of neighbors of gardeners locking their cars and screened in porches so that said gardeners can’t unload huge squash on them. There are cookbooks devoted to nothing else but uses for summer squash. I even have a recipe somewhere for a chocolate zucchini cake (which is excellent by the way). So forgive me if I get excited about my first squash casserole of the season. This is a great recipe! I have adapted it from a recipe I saw in Food & Wine. I have called it a Southwestern squash casserole only because it has cornmeal in it and that was what David said it tatsted like when he tried it. Next time I make it, I might add some cumin, hot spices and vary the cheeses. But as it is, it is excellent. It starts with yellow squash, zucchini and a sweet red pepper and onion.
The squash and zucchini were crisply fresh from the garden and the red pepper added a lot of color. The flour and cornmeal thickened the milk and eggs and made a custard in which the vegetables were suspended. The Parmesan and Gruyere cheese added richness. I will be making this again. . . . . and again. . . . and again this summer.
SOUTHWESTERN SQUASH CASSEROLE
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 to 3 yellow squash, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (not self rising)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a casserole or a 9-inch round baking dish. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the oil over moderately high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add the squash and zucchini and cook, stirring, until almost tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, toss together the cornmeal, flour, Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs, then whisk them into the cornmeal mixture until combined. Stir the vegetables into the loose batter and spread it in the prepared baking dish. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until firm. Sprinkle with the Gruyere and bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
I served the squash with Balsamic glazed pork chops. Recipe to follow.