Hoorah! There’s finally a great way to cook summer squash, that poor unfortunate victim of too many “vegetable medleys,” in which the overgrown squash is thickly sliced, overcooked, and served in a pool of liquid. Young squash—diced small and cooked fast—are yummy. Even better, if you treat yourself to a really cool hand tool—a julienne peeler, which only costs about seven dollars—you can make the quickest, tastiest squash dish ever.
In this recipe, I quickly sauté the “linguine” in brown butter for a super-fast side dish. You could just wrap it up with salt and a squeeze of lemon, but I’ve added almonds, as nutty flavors pair really well with all squashes. (Hazelnuts are good here, too.) You can substitute zucchini for half of the summer squash, if you like.
Watch the video series Homegrown/Homemade: Squash to see Fine Cooking's Sarah Breckenridge make this recipe.
Wash and dry the squash and trim off the ends. Using a julienne peeler, peel the squash lengthwise all the way around, dropping the strips into a bowl. Continue peeling until you reach the seed core. Discard the core and peel the other squash in the same fashion. Toss the squash strips and separate any that are clumping together.
In a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and swirl the butter around in the pan. Cook the butter until it reaches a nutty brown color (the almonds should be light brown by then), about 2 minutes. The color turns quickly so keep an eye on it—it will be more flavorful if you take it beyond a very light brown, but you don’t want it to turn black. Immediately add the squash and salt. Toss the squash gently with tongs until it is well coated with the butter. Continue cooking just until the squash becomes slightly limp, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in half of the chopped herbs, and squeeze a little of the lemon over the squash and toss. Taste and add more lemon, if desired. Transfer the squash to a serving dish or plates and garnish with the remaining herbs.
Serve this side dish with grilled scallops or shrimp.
Photo: Ben Fink