Friday, August 26, 2011

Farm Fresh: The Pattypan Squash!

Welcome to my Summertime Foodie Friday series: Farm Fresh

I decided to take advantage of the abundance of the Summer growing season by featuring a new unusual vegetable each week. These vegetables may be ones you've had before, or ones you've heard of but never dared to taste. Or, they may be ones you had no idea how to prepare to eat. I'll include a bit of information about the vegetable, a simple recipe, and a linky so you can share your favorite recipe featuring the vegetable of the week. The link collections will be open for a full month after I feature a vegetable, so you can experiment with it and then come back here and link up your successes.

This is the last week of this Summer series. It's been fun, and who knows—I may be inspired to do it again next Summer.  I featured artichoke, kale, eggplant, beet, zucchini, kohlrabi, fennel, bok choy, and this week, pattypan squash!

If you have a preparation tip to add, please let me know in the comments. And remember to link up your pattypan squash recipes in the linky below!

I saw these adorable pattypan squash at the farmers' market last weekend, and I just knew I had to feature them for my series. I've been wanting to try them out, and this was the perfect excuse to do so!

A little background information about pattypan squash:
Pattypan squash is known by many names, including sunburst squash, white squash, button squash, scallopini, scallop squash, custard squash, custard marrow, and granny squash.  It is a summer squash which is most often known for its small size and scalloped edges. Pattypan squash can be yellow, green, or white, and they're usually harvested and served when they're no more than 2-3 inches in diameter. Pattypan squash is a good source of magnesium, niacin, and vitamins A and C. One cup contains about 20 to 30 calories and no fat. (From Wikipedia's Pattypan Squash article)
Pattypan squash has a flavor and texture very similar to zucchini, and you eat the whole thing, skin and all...also just like a zucchini. I found it to have a bit stronger of a flavor than zucchini—probably because it's so concentrated in those tiny squash! It can be used as a substitute for zucchini in many recipes, so since I've shared plenty of easy and quick zucchini recipes which can be made with pattypan, I decided to make a slightly more involved recipe than many of the others in my series. Plus, it's the last week, so why not?!

I modified this stuffed pattypan squash recipe to be gluten-free, and it was delicious!

All you need is:

6-10 Pattypan squash
6 slices of bacon
1 small onion (about ½ cup diced)
2 cups (approximately) spinach
⅓ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Here's how:
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Bring an inch of water in the bottom of a saucepan to a boil, then add the pattypan squash. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the stem with a fork.
    Don't cut off the stems before boiling them, like I did!
  • Remove the squash from the saucepan, slice off the stems, then cut each of them in half.
  • Carefully scoop out the insides of the squash with a melon baller, taking care around the edges not to pierce through the outside of the skin (since you'll be using these squash shells to house the stuffing).
  • Lay the squash shells in a large baking dish.
  • Fry the bacon until it's crispy, chop it into small pieces, then set aside.
  • Remove some of the bacon grease from the pan, if there's a lot. (As I have mentioned before, if you get high-quality bacon, there might not be a lot of extra grease left over, so you may not have to remove any at all.)
  • Add the onions, and cook over medium heat until they are tender.
  • Add the spinach, cooking until the spinach has wilted.
  • Chop up the insides of the squash that you scooped out (or don't...I did just a little bit) and then return the innards to the skillet with the bacon, spinach, and onions. 
  • Cook while stirring, for just a minute or two, until everything is incorporated.
  • Remove from heat, mix in the cheese, then use this to fill the pattypan shells.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot!
Daniel is a big fan of squash of all kinds, so I knew no matter how I cooked it, the pattypan squash would be a hit with my family. Jaymz and I really liked it, and my mom is visiting for a week, so she even enjoyed some of the leftovers. I will definitely be substituting this tiny, tasty squash in some of my favorite zucchini recipes!

What about you? How do you like to eat pattypan squash?


Thanks for your comment! I love hearing from you.


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