After months of piercing heat, it would appear as though Mother Nature has changed her tune; where once we were seeking cool refuge, we are now cozying up in comfy sweaters. Whether this is a short reprieve from the heat, for which I should be grateful, or a sign of the changing times remains a mystery; but I took this moment to become reacquainted with my oven and roast me some Patty Pans!
Before we get to the basics of how to cook summer squash, a nutrition AND history lesson!
Squash comes in two basic categories: winter and summer, with Pattypan summer squash being the most diminutive of both seasons; and in the land of folk and lore, it’s said that Christopher Columbus is responsible for spreading this South American delicacy throughout the rest of the Americas.
Like most vegetables, summer squash is high in the heart healthy mineral potassium. One cup of cooked summer squash provides more than three times the amount of potassium than that of a traditional supplement. Another source of pride for Pattypan, crookneck and zucchini squash is a decent amount of vitamin A and beta carotene; and, best of all, more than 4000 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin, two members of the carotenoid family that are getting serious attention for their potential to protect the eyes from macular degeneration and other vision problems.
By all accounts, it has been a great year for squash growing; with most vendors at the market and even my own squash growing efforts being rewarded with well endowed squash. Although Pattypans aren’t quite gifted size wise as, say, zucchini squash, the old adage “size matters” certainly does not apply here.
As far as how to cook summer squash, I’m generally inclined to spice with wild abandon, but Pattypans require no such thing; just salt, pepper and a little heat, as the flavor of a Pattypan can only be described as the juiciest zucchini you will ever eat- so why mess with that?! The irony of cooking a consummate summer vegetable in a classically winter way is not lost on me; and I know that roasting vegetables in August would seem slightly premature, however, the fall chill can certainly be felt in the air. It was but two weeks ago when I was less inclined to overheat my home by turning on the oven, but now the heat is a welcome addition; and roasting also happens to bring out the inherent sweetness in anything from beets, to carrots, and, of course, squash.
How To Cook Summer Squash ~Roasted Pattypans
3 Pattypan Squash
1 tsp pepper
¼ tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 400 oC
Under running water scrub the pattypans clean. Slice off green ends, and then cut in half. Combine oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes and drizzle over patty pans. Layer on a baking sheet; and roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.