How can I get my children excited about eating more vegetables? One way is to present a sculptural, one-of-a-kind variety of squash that resembles a scalloped flying saucer that they have never before tasted. These pattypans taste like zucchini or yellow squash and are cucurbits, members of the same botanical family as cucumbers and watermelon. Paired with local just-picked corn on the cob, this is a wholly satisfying seasonal late-summer breakfast.
2 patty pan squash
2-4 ears of corn
2 Tablespoons algae oil
2 sprigs parsley
2 basil leaves (optional)
1 Tablespoon + a pinch coarse sea salt
Process First, get the corn cooking. I learned a new surefire way to boil corn with the husk on. Yup, this just in from Sarah Freund, a third-generation farmer from East Canaan, Ct: cooking the corn with the husk intact makes it easier to, um, husk, and keeps the kernels tender and crisp. It’s actually hard to mess up a good, sweet ear of corn using this cooking method. Fill a large, sturdy corn or stock pot with water. Add a tablespoon of coarse sea salt and heat it on a high flame. While the water is a-boilin’, cut the bottom (this is the knobby end where the cob was connected to the corn stalk) off of each ear. You end up cutting off about 2-3 inches, enough so the wheel of corn kernels is visible.
When the water comes to a roiling boil (when active bubbles abound) drop the ears of corn into the pot. Sarah says to cook them “until the smell of cooked sweet corn infuses the kitchen,” or about 12-15 minutes.
Now, while the corn is boiling, cook the pattypan. Rinse them and use a good vegetable knife to slice each one in half, widthwise. It is as if you are slicing each one create a sandwich. Trim tops or bottoms if desired.
Heat a medium-sized stainless steel or cast-iron skillet for about 30 seconds, until it is warm. Add the algae oil, (a new low-in-saturated-fat oil with a high smoke point) and swill it around in the pan, heating it up for another 30 seconds or one minute. Now place the 4 halves of patty pan squash, flat, flesh-side down, so the dome-shaped sides are face-up in the pan.
Chop the parsley and basil (if using) into tiny pieces and sprinkle it on top of the squash. When the flat/flesh sides of the squash are browned but not burnt, flip them over and cook the skin-side so it is browned and tender. Plate the squash and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. When the corn smells ready, remove it from the pot. Leave the husk on until you’re ready to eat it — the husk will keep the kernels warm. When you’re ready, remove the husk, which should fall away easily.
Place the corn on the plate with the squash.
©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2016