Summer Squash Gratin
Adapted from 101cookbooks.com
Slicing the potatoes as thin as possible is essential to the success of this dish. They will turn luscious and creamy. If sliced too thick they’ll take longer to cook than the squash.
1 Tbs. lemon zest
1 1/2 lb. summer squash (cut into 1/6-inch slices)
3/4 tsp. salt (divided)
1/4 c. oregano leaves (fresh)
1/4 c. flat-leaf parsely (fresh)
1 clove garlic (large)
Pinch red pepper flakes (plus more to taste)
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. butter (unsalted)
2 c. bread crumbs (whole wheat)
1/2 lb. potatoes (waxy, sliced transparently thin—a mandoline is great for this)
3/4 c. Gruyere cheese (coarsely grated)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease a 9x9-inch baking dish with olive oil, sprinkle with the lemon zest, and set aside. Put the summer squash in a colander in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and allow to drain for 10-15 minutes.
Using a food processor or a hand blender, purée the oregano, parsley, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Heat until it turns brown and fragrant, 2-3 minutes, then add the bread crumbs and stir until they’re well-coated. Put the drained squash in a large bowl, add the potatoes and two-thirds of the oregano-parsley sauce and toss to coat. Stir in the cheese and half the breadcrumbs. Taste and add more salt or red pepper flakes if needed.
Transfer the squash and potatoes to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the bread crumbs. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Serve warm from the oven, drizzled with the remainder of the oregano-parsley sauce. Makes 6 servings.
Braised Zucchini with Mint and Lemon
Adapted from www.thewednesdaychef.com (link is external)
Slowly braised, zucchini turns rich, silky, and absolutely delicious. Just as nice at room temperature if you want a cool dinner.
2 lb. zucchini (ends trimmed)
2 Tbs. olive oil (extra-virgin)
1 c. onion (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)
1 Tbs. mint (fresh, chopped, divided)
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. pine nuts (toasted)
Slice zucchini into quarters lengthwise, then in half crosswise for spears 2-3 inches long. Heat the olive oil over medium-low in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add the zucchini, garlic, lemon zest, salt, 1 teaspoon of the mint, and 2 tablespoons of water. Toss well. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is very tender and almost translucent, about 25 minutes. Raise the heat to high, remove the lid, add the lemon juice, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes. Stir in the rest of the mint and add more salt or lemon juice as needed. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and serve still warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.
Grilled Turkey-Zucchini Burgers
Adapted from Sunset magazine, September 2012
1 lb. ground turkey
1 zucchini (medium, shredded)
5 mushrooms (large button or cremini, chopped)
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs. ketchup
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 white onion (large, slicd into thick rounds)
6 sourdough English muffins (or your favorite burger buns)
6 lettuce leaves
Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat if using gas). In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini, mushrooms, salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, and 1 tablespoon of water. Form into six patties. Brush both the patties and the sliced onion with vegetable oil. Grill both, flipping once, until the burgers are cooked through and the onions are starting to brown, about 8 minutes. In the last few minutes of cooking, place the English muffins or buns on the grill to taste. Assemble the burgers on the English muffins with lettuce and grilled onion. Enjoy! Makes 6 burgers.
Chicken Apricot Kebabs
Adapted from www.bonappetit.com (link is external)
These kebabs, marinated in a delicious coconut milk, lime, and peanut marinade, will definitely be a hit at your next cook out.
3/4 c. coconut milk (light, canned)
1/2 c. yogurt (plain, preferably Greek)
1/2 c. peanut butter (smooth)
1/4 c. lime juice (fresh)
2 tsp. brown sugar (light)
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp. salt (coarse)
1/4 c. cilantro (fresh, loosely packed)
2 Tbs. jalapeño (coarsely chopped, with seeds if you like more heat)
1 lb. chicken thighs (skinless, boneless, cut into 24 1-inch chunks)
12 apricots (small, firm, ripe, halved and pitted)
1/4 c. peanuts (unsalted, dry-roasted, chopped)
2 limes (cut into wedges)
In a blender, purée the coconut milk, yogurt, peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, and salt. When smooth, add the cilantro and jalapeño and pulse to combine. Transfer 1/2 cup of this marinade into a small bowl, and cover and place in the refrigerator. Pour the remaining marinade into a sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or as long as 12. (The longer it marinates, the better!) One hour before making the kebabs, place the bamboo skewers in a dish full of water, submerging them completely, and let them soak.
Heat a gas grill to high or build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill. Build the kebabs using two skewers each: hold two 1/2 an inch apart, parallel to each other, then thread a chicken piece onto them, followed by an apricot half. Repeat with one more chicken piece and one more apricot half. Repeat with remaining skewers, chicken, and apricots for a total of 12 kebabs, each holding two pieces of chicken and two apricot halves. Season with salt and pepper, then brush with some of the marinade from the bag. Discard any marinade remaining in the bag.
Grill each kebab for 3-4 minutes on each side, until chicken is well browned. Move to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with peanuts, more cilantro, then drizzle with reserved marinade. Serve with lime wedges. Makes 6 servings.
Moroccan-Spiced Ground Lamb with Pistachio-Mint Couscous
Adapted from www.foodandwine.com (link is external)
Willy Street Co-op’s Moroccan lamb sausage is pleasantly spiced with Northern African flavors, and makes this dish a snap to prepare. Serve it with a green salad and you have a delicious meal.
3 Tbs. olive oil (divided)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 shallots (minced, divided)
1 Tbs. ginger (fresh, finely grated)
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 pk Moroccan lamb sausage (casings removed)
pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
1/2 c. chicken stock
1 c. couscous
2 c. boiling water
1/4 c. pistachios (unsalted, chopped)
1/4 c. dried apricots (chopped)
1/4 c. mint (fresh, chopped)
yogurt (plain, Greek)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, half of the shallot and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cherry tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the lamb and break apart with the back of a spoon. After about 5 minutes, when the lamb has started to brown, add the chicken stock. Cook until there is no trace of pink on the lamb, about 5 minutes more. Cover and keep warm.
Place the couscous in a large heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over the couscous. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Fluff the couscous with two forks, then fold in the pistachios, apricots, mint, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and remaining chopped shallot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the lamb with the couscous and pass the Greek yogurt at the table. Makes 4 servings.
Tuscan Grilled Zucchini and Yellow Crookneck Squash
Adapted from Stefano Coppola’s recipe on www.food52.com (link is external).
Summer squash soaks up the garlic, herbs, and lemon in this marinade like a sponge, and bursts with flavor after a quick turn on the grill. Use the extra marinade (you’ll have some leftover) to drizzle over a grain salad, or to grill more vegetables.
5 cloves garlic (minced)
4 rosemary (sprigs, fresh, chopped)
1 sprig fresh oregano (chopped)
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
2 c. olive oil
3 zucchini (cut into 1-inch rounds)
3 yellow crookneck squash (cut into 1-inch rounds)
2 red onions (unpeeled, sliced in half)
Zest and juice the lemons, and combine in a large mixing bowl. Str in the garlic, rosemary, oregano, crushed red pepper, and red wine vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Place the squash in a sealable plastic bag (see note), pour the marinade into the bag, press out any air, and seal. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours.
If using wooden skewers and not metal ones, place in a shallow dish and cover in warm water to soak for 30 minutes. Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat if using gas). Remove squash from marinade (reserve the marinade) and thread onto skewers, spearing the rounds horizontally so that the cut sides will lie flat on the grill. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Place the unpeeled onion halves on the grill and allow to char, turning occasionally. Remove and place in a bowl, and cover with a plate to steam.
Grill the skewers, flipping them once, until the squash is tender and lightly browned, 6-10 minutes. If you’re using a gas grill, cover while grilling.
Peel and slice the onions and place on a serving platter. Remove the squash from the skewers and toss with the onion. Season lightly with salt and pepper, drizzle with a tablespoon of reserved marinade, and serve. These are equally good at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.
Notes: Many people have better results using this plastic bag method, but if you’d prefer not to use plastic, place the squash in a casserole dish, cover with marinade, and proceed with the recipe.
Salmon with Apricot Salsa
Adapted from www.fooddess.com (link is external).
This is a fresh, healthy, and vibrant dish. If you’d prefer to fire up the grill instead of searing the salmon, that would be delicious too!
1 Tbs. lime juice
2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 c. cucumber (diced)
4 apricots (pitted, diced)
1/4 c. green onion (white and green parts, chopped)
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 salmon fillets (skin on, about 7 oz. each)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, and rice wine vinegar. Add the cucumber, apricots, and green onion, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Heat a large, ovenproof, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels, and season the flesh side with salt. Add the salmon, skin-side down, to the oil when hot. Sear until the skin is crispy and golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Gently flip the fillets over, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until the tip of a sharp knife is just warm to the touch when inserted into the middle of the salmon. It will be about 5 minutes for medium-rare, and 9 minutes for fully cooked. Transfer to four plates and let rest for 2 minutes. Serve topped with the apricot salsa. Makes 4 servings.