This morning I sat lazily on the back deck, slowly waking up. Tea in hand, I caught up on emails, did some crosswords, and browsed the net. On Facebook, a friend posted that it was “National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.” Now I can’t attest to the verity that such a day has actually been christened, but like many home gardeners I decided years ago to never plant summer squash again. I was tired of the constant effort it took to stay on top of the crops as they grew from Just needs one more day to How the heck did that little 6-inch specimen grow to be a foot and a half long overnight? Nope. I figured I have enough squash-growing neighbors who regularly pawn off the fruits of their labor on me that I still get sick of it—without all the additional work.
Thankfully, summer squash is a pretty versatile vegetable. You can easily incorporate it into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. But like many of you, I still need some inspiration to keep it exciting, especially towards the tail end of the season. Served with a freshly picked salad and a simple dressing, this stuffed squash makes an ideal light lunch. Carnivores who need a little more substance can easily showcase it as a side dish, but the nuts and cheese provide enough protein to make it a sufficiently rounded vegetarian main course.
Summer Squash with Brown Butter Hazelnut-Mushroom Stuffing
I used beautiful pale green Pattypan squash for these as that’s what I had on hand. However, the dish would work with any summer squash available to you. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust cooking time according to size.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
2 tablespoons hazelnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
2 small to medium summer squash
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
4 mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley
¼ cup shredded Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Toast until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop.
- Increase oven temperature to 400°F. If using Pattypan squash, cut top portion off. If using long summer squash, cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out interior, leaving about a ¼-inch wall. Season the inside with salt and pepper. Place squash upside down on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.
- While squash bakes, heat butter in a shallow pan until golden brown. Add shallots and garlic. Sauté for a couple minutes, then add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms release their juices and the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add parsley, hazelnuts, and cheese.
- Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Spoon filling into hollowed out squash and place in a baking dish. Bake until tender and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products
Photo by Briana Nervig