WRITTEN BY CLAIRE CUDAHY

Zucchini, pattypan, cousa, zephyr, eight ball — these are just some of the delectable (and oddly named) summer squash you have to play around with in the kitchen this season.

This month, I caught up with three regional chefs to see how they are cooking up summer squash in their restaurants.

Squash 700
There are many varieties of summer squash to choose from at the farmers’ market.

Swap starch-heavy mashed potatoes for a lighter, caramelized zucchini purée, courtesy of chef Nicholas Hagman from Graeagle Meadows Restaurant. Try a bright and balanced pasta dish studded with squash, pecorino, and mint thanks to Calafuria’s chef Tim Magee. Or go full-on Southern with Homegrown Gastropub’s chef Sean P. Studds’ recipe for Fried Chicken Corn Bread Salad with Roasted Summer Squash.

So stop by your neighborhood farmers’ market — or, better yet, walk out to your bountiful home garden — and get an armful of summer squash. There is no shortage of ways to enjoy them!

Recipes

Caramelized Summer Zucchini Purée
(courtesy of chef Nicholas Hagman, Graeagle Meadows Restaurant in Graeagle. Serves 4-6)

5 zucchini, shredded
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil, onion, and zucchini. Cook slowly, until the onion and zucchini reach a golden color. Add butter, curry, salt, and pepper, and cook about 5 more minutes. Transfer mixture into food processor and purée until smooth. Place mixture back in Dutch oven and continue to cook until it reaches desired consistency. The longer it cooks, the drier it will become.

Graeagle Meadows Restaurant
6934 Hwy. 89, Graeagle • 530-836-2348 • Playgraeagle.com/restaurant

Rigatoni with Summer Squash, Pecorino Toscano and Fresh Mint
(courtesy of chef Tim Magee, Calafuria in Reno. Serves 4)

1 pound rigatoni
1 pound squash, sliced
1 yellow onion, julienned
2 anchovy filets
1 tablespoon of capers
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh mint
1 cup dry (hard) pecorino Toscano

Sauté onion in olive oil with the capers, anchovy, and red pepper. When onions soften, add squash and sauté until vegetables are caramelized. At this point, add the boiled rigatoni and mix well with sauce. Add a little water from the pot and a bit of fresh olive oil, mixing well to emulsify the ingredients and make it creamy without having to add cream. Portion the pasta and sprinkle each plate with the grated pecorino Toscano and hand-shredded mint leaves.

Calafuria
725 S. Center St., Reno • 775-360-5175 • Calafuriareno.com

Fried Chicken Corn Bread Salad with Roasted Summer Squash
(courtesy of chef Sean P. Studds, Homegrown Gastropub in Reno. Serves 1)

friedchicken
Photo Provided by Chef Sean P. Studds of Homegrown Gastropub
Chef Sean P. Studds pairs summer squash with fried chicken and cornbread over a bed of spring greens.

 

6 ounces buttermilk fried chicken (recipe below)
3 ounces herb ranch (recipe below)
4 ounces torn cornbread (recipe below)
3 ounces organic spring mix
2 ounces dried cranberries
2 ounces toasted pumpkin seeds
3 ounces summer squash, roasted

Prepare chicken, ranch, and cornbread first.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse and chop summer squash into bite-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast on sheet pan in oven for 10 minutes. Let cool and set aside. Toss spring mix with ranch, and place on center of large bowl. Place summer squash, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds on top of and around greens. Fry chicken strips to golden brown in preheated 350 degree F deep fryer. Place on top of salad. Tear 1 serving of cornbread and sprinkle over top of salad.

For buttermilk fried chicken:
(Serves 10)

10, 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 quart buttermilk
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
4 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Thaw and marinate chicken breasts in buttermilk, preferably overnight. Pull breasts from buttermilk and dredge with some of the flour. Then place into the remaining flour mixed with the Cajun seasoning and panko. Lay breasts, not touching, onto parchment-lined sheet pans until ready to fry. Fry in deep fryer until golden brown. Season generously with salt. Finish in oven at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Internal temp should reach 165 degrees F.

For herb ranch:
(Makes 2 quarts)

4 cups sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cups buttermilk
1 bunch fresh herbs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon black pepper

Using a whisk, combine all ingredients and store in refrigerator.

For cornbread:
(Serves 6)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3½ teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
⅓ cup vegetable oil

Whisk all ingredients together and pour into baking dish that has been sprayed with non-GMO cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool and cut into 6 portions.

Claire Cudahy is a Zephyr Cove-based writer who is currently cooking and baking deliciously-ripe summer squash into just about everything. You can reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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