Dennis Patillo: | Good Dwelling

This chilly entrance is a welcome change from the oppressive warmth we lived via for months this yr. The warmth actually took a toll on our vegetable backyard. All our crops, together with our peppers underperformed this yr. The one exception to this was our summer season squash. As soon as they started producing, they only didn’t cease. When the backyard was checked within the morning the squash can be too small to reap solely to seek out by the night, they’d grown nearly too large to be the optimum dimension.

The issue with massive summer season squash shouldn’t be the flesh. It nonetheless tastes good and has good texture. The dimensions of the seeds could be problematic although. The seeds can change into so massive that even after cooking for a very long time, they continue to be robust.

Paul Prudhomme, the chef who made Cajun cool, had an answer. He instructed omitting the seeds and the middle pulp leaving solely about ¼ inch of pores and skin and the flesh. This could then be lower into batons, seasoned along with his model of Cajun seasoning, and sautéing for just a few seconds in clarified butter. This system was good since a lot of the nutritive worth of the squash is discovered within the pores and skin. The ensuing al dente squash is scrumptious.

This system works equally nicely with zucchini. I like to mix the summer season squash with the zucchini and fold in some caramelized onions and only a style of recent thyme. Being one who subscribes to the assumption that sufficient isn’t sufficient, I quickly started so as to add strips of roasted purple pepper. The pepper added an extra layer of taste, and the purple was a nice flash of colour. In any case, we eat with our eyes too.

Typically I might omit the purple pepper and add some seeded peeled and cubed tomatoes together with a little bit torn basil on the final minute. This could give the dish a little bit little bit of a Mediterranean aptitude.

I wrestle with leaving nicely sufficient alone, so earlier than lengthy, I started including a few frivolously crushed eggs together with some heavy cream and shredded mozzarella, then topping the casserole with panko blended with Parmigiana Reggiano. This was then baked in a 350-degree oven for about half-hour after which operating it below the broiled for a few minutes to brown the highest.

Then I believed, what if I added some protein after which the casserole might function a one pot meal. I attempted batons of nation ham. Then I attempted pepperoni slices. Then I attempted substituting Jack and cheddar cheeses for the mozzarella and blended in cooked breakfast sausage or pulled pork or hen shreds.

You could be considering at this level, “Wow, this can be a illness!” and it could be. I took a easy, clear, al dente vegetable recipe and added, added, added layers till it now not resembled the dish I started with and liked.

Exterior of pasta, I used to be not raised with something al dente. I can nonetheless style the way in which my grandmother cooked summer season squash. Seemingly tons of summer season squash had been sliced lengthwise. In a big forged iron Dutch oven, that at all times sat on the range’s again burner, she would throw in an enormous spoonful of bacon grease that she acquired out of a Folger’s espresso can that was completely positioned on the again of the range. She would prepare dinner down a number of sliced onions till they had been nearly a jam. The scent alone was mouthwatering. When the onions had been simply so, she would add the summer season squash together with just a bit water. The squash would prepare dinner till it was very tender. No dish can be full for her with out some pepperoncino, dried purple pepper flakes. She would throw in what I think about was a few tablespoons of those peppers. The squash, onions, and peppers got here from their stunning yard backyard. The bacon drippings got here from the bacon created from her brother’s hogs. On the final minute, off the warmth, she would stir in a beneficiant quantity of sorghum molasses. Served along with her buttermilk biscuits that had been current at each meal, this was heaven to me. I miss these days and I miss her, however I’ll at all times bear in mind and be pleased about the way in which she taught me to prepare dinner. Cook dinner by really feel, flavors, textures, and measurements and recipes be damned.

Louise and I had been speaking about squash dishes, and she or he remembered one which she had not cooked in many years. She made it for me Sunday night time and it was wonderful. That recipe is included with this column. I hope you strive it and possibly you would possibly strive among the different concepts mentioned.

Dennis Patillo is a dedicated foodie and chef. He has spent a lifetime finding out meals from all over the world in addition to regional cuisines. His ardour is introducing folks to elements and strategies that can be utilized of their residence kitchen. He and his spouse, Louise, personal The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar.

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