Zucchini often gets used as a filler and is thrown into a recipe in disguise–“finely shred the zucchini and hide it in a lime cheesecake. Your family will think that the green flecks are lime zest and will never know that they are actually eating something healthy!” Gag.
The main thing about zucchini and other summer squash is that people often misjudge how large the squash should be before they are picked. Think small. The flesh is most flavorful and tender when the squash is on the smaller size. Over-grown zucchini is inevitable; you will miss some in the picking process and won’t find them until one day when you look out of the kitchen window and notice that something looks wildly out of kilter in the garden. You’ll walk outside to investigate and low and behold there will sit a gargantuan zucchini for which you will need a chain saw to separate it from its mother plant. There are some choices for over-grown zucchini:
- toss it in the compost pile
- feed it to your neighbor’s chickens–just cut in half lengthwise, toss it over the fence, and the chickens will pick out the soft parts
- make 25 batches of zucchini bread (All joking aside, I really like zucchini bread!)
The following recipe is one that my family often enjoys during our summer squash bounty. It is simple to make, requiring only a few ingredients. You will see that this recipe calls for bacon. I buy a package of bacon ends and pieces, portion them out into quart-sized freezer bags and freeze for later use.
Sauteed Summer Squash
- 4-6 zucchini or other summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 1 onion, sliced chunky
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- Johnny’s seasoning salt, to taste (I am a Johnny’s fan, but use whatever seasoning salt you have available.)
In a large frying pan, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, leaving about 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pan. Set the bacon aside on paper towels to drain.
Toss the onions into the frying pan with the reserved bacon drippings and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the squash and sprinkle with Johnny’s seasoning salt. Stir fry the vegetables for 4-5 minutes and then add the bacon pieces. Continue to stir fry until the vegetables are a little past crisp-tender, but not to the mushy stage. Squash may be hardy in the garden, but it is delicate in the kitchen and is easily over-cooked. Serve as a side with any of your favorite comfort meals.