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Invariably by midsummer, everyone is swimming in summer squash and no one wants to hear any more about the ubiquitous vegetable. But in the spring, it is a delicacy to be much cherished. Thus this week when we pulled in our first few crookneck squash, we truly savored the flavor. Typically, the first couple of batches I get I will eat in a very simple way. This time it was slow cooked on low heat with butter and herbs for 30 minutes to achieve that perfect caramelization. But by the second batch, I was ready to be adventurous!
I collect the Time Life Foods of the World cookbooks. I have nearly all of them. Yes, I know I can go an ebay and grab the last few I’m missing but that’s not nearly as fun as scouring thrift stores! While in New Orleans, I stopped by the Kitchen Witch knowing they usually have an extensive collection of these books. Sure enough, they had four of the last five spiral bound recipe books that I was missing! Although they were a bit more than I usually like to spend, it was too much to pass up. So I bellied up to the counter and shelled out the $6 per book they were asking (really that’s not that bad). And I have been pleasantly surprised by the recipes in all of them. So I broke one open for the first true summer squash recipe of the year.
This recipe comes from American Cooking: The Eastern Heartland.
Summer Squash Souffle
5 or 6 crookneck squash – about 2 lbs
4 tbsp butter
1 cup finely diced onion
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp butter
Dice the squash into 1 inch cube and steam in for 15-20 minutes – until very soft. I recently purchased a new cookware set. We are installing an induction stove soon and needed to replace a lot of our older cookware. I love our new stainless steel set – it has the best double decker steamer!
Meanwhile, heat the 4 tbsp of butter over medium heat in a skillet. Cook the onions until soft and translucent but not brown.
Once the squash is tender, mash it into smooth puree with a fork and place in a fine colander to drain as much of the liquid as possible.
While draining, separate the egg. I use the method of moving the yolk back and forth in the egg shell halves. Recently, I’ve been using duck eggs for the majority of my egg needs. Turns out, it can be rather hard to separate the white from the yolk. You tend to have to “cut” the white free. It’s very thick!
Beat the yolk with the nutmeg, salt and a few grinds of pepper. I once heard Martha Stewart (yes, I’m a fan!) say something along the lines that you never know how much sawdust is in your ground spices. Errr…ever since, I’ve ground my own nutmeg. I don’t use it often and freshly ground even from “old” nuts seems to be more potent than preground that sits around for along time.
Once the squash is drained, add it and the onions to the yolk mixture.
Beat the egg white until it forms stiff peaks. Fold gently but thoroughly into the squash mixture.
Pour the mixture into a 1 quart baking dish greased with 1 tbsp of butter and bake in preheated oven at 350F for 40 minutes.