Sunday, September 5, 2010

Grilled summer squash with mint and cheese

This dish is a cinch. It is also a bit of a misnomer, since we don't have a grill, even an indoor one, and we cooked the squash in a nonstick skillet, and it was still good. I made this with avocado squash, which looks sort of like a large, light green avocado, is firmer than zucchini, grills well, and has a nutty flavor. Three things to remember to make this dish a success: use young squash and not the overgrown baseball bats that you sometimes get late in the summer; don't sprinkle on the mint and cheese until the squash has cooled to room temperature (you don't want the cheese to melt or the mint to turn dark), and don't dress the dish until shortly before serving. It serves 6 as a one of a few antipasti or side dishes, but could also make a light lunch for 2:

Grilled summer squash with mint and cheese

  1. 2 avocado squash or 1 pound or more other summer squash
  2. olive oil (and olive oil spray for cooking if you want)
  3. salt and pepper
  4. ricotta salata cheese (a pressed firm ricotta), about 2-3 ounces, coarsely grated
  5. fresh mint, about a handful, washed, stemmed and shreeded
  6. red wine vinegar

  1. Wash the squash well: soak it in cold water for 10-15 minutes, and rinse to remove all grit. Scrape any gritty section that remain or peel lightly if necessary. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. (If using thin small zucchini, you could halve them or cut them on a diagonal.)
  2. Brush the grill lightly with oil, or spray a nonstick skillet with olive oil spray, and heat on high. If using the spray, you should spray it on a cold grill or skillet and then heat it. For oil, you can just brush it on once the grill or skillet is hot.
  3. Cook the squash for 5-7 minutes on each side, until browned and tender. (The time varies widely with the head of your skillet or grill. Don't overcook ,since it will continue to soften after you remove it.
  4. Arrange the squash nicely on a serving plate and season with salt and pepper.
  5. When it has cooled to room temperature, sprinkle with the cheese and then the mint. Set aside up to an hour or two until ready to serve, but ideally, don't refrigerate it.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar shortly before serving.
Variation: This could also be made with grilled eggplant, or eggplant cut into cubes, sprayed or tossed with oil, and roasted on 450 degrees for about 20 minutes and then broiled until tender. I find that eggplant does better than squash if cooked the day before, but don't garnish or dress until serving.

1 comment:

  1. made this with whole wheat peasant bread from Trader Joe's and it was delicious. i used the same bread to make the croutons too.