Local Bounty: July 9
Vibrant summer squash
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012, 10:18AM
From left to right: eight ball squash, patty pan squash, yellow straight neck and Mexican squash
There’s no getting away from squash. In the chilly months, we have hard or winter squash. In these warm months are the summer or soft squashes. And, for a brief time, we have squash blossoms, which are delightful stuffed and fried or chopped up and sautéed as filling for quesadillas.
You’ll be finding a huge variety of summer squash at the markets over the next several months. Not just zucchini—but all sorts of varieties with different shapes and sizes and colors that range from pale white to yellow to light green, and dark green with names like crookneck, patty pan, eight ball, and flying saucer. I found a few of these at the Mira Mesa farmers market, specifically at the Rivas Family Farm stall. This San Marcos-based farm sells at a number of other markets, including Vista, Escondido, La Mesa, Pt. Loma, Golden Hill, Carlsbad, UTC, and the Oceanside morning market. All of the squash listed are $1.50 a pound.
Eight ball squash, as you would imagine, are round, but in taste and color, they are remarkably like zucchini. They come in green, white (really a pale green), and yellow. Use them as you would zucchini, but take advantage of the shape by stuffing them. Just slice off the top, hollow out the interior and fill with the flesh, sautéed with cheese, meat, ground chicken, diced shrimp, or a variety of vegetables. Mix with grains or cheese for a hearty dish. Then bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.
These round disc-shaped squash have scalloped edges and can be white, yellow, orange, green, or a mixture of colors. They’ve got a very mild flavor—like other summer squash. Take advantage of their unusual shape and slice in half horizontally, then grill or bake flesh side up and topped with grated cheese and bread crumbs.
Yellow Straight Neck and Mexican
The shape is familiar—long and narrow—but the colors are striking. The yellow straight neck looks like a glossy version of zucchini with a thin skin and coloring that can be subtly butter-like or vibrant. The Mexican squash is also long and narrow—well perhaps a bit bulbous at the end—but is a light green and just a bit sweeter than zucchini. Both are perfect for stir fries, shredding for pancakes, sautéing and adding to a pasta dish, roasting or grilling—or just eating raw.
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