POTLUCK with Michael Patrick McKinley
THE CROOKNECK SQUASH DOUBLE FEATURE
When the Summer Squash start arriving, they just keep coming!
I can clearly remember the bounty of Zucchini [both green and yellow] and Crookneck that was provided by my father and stepmother's garden. The zucchini ended up in a few sweet dishes, like quick breads and jam. Yes I said jam, and it was delicious! The crooknecks were a main ingredient in this tomatoey-rich sauce/relish Muriel and her sister Gloria created and canned year after year, called Harvest Special. She also made these dynamite quick dill pickle coins out of them.
Muriel and Gloria were in constant competition with each other, entering their amazing dishes, canned and baked goods into both county and state fairs, battling it out for a plenitude of well deserved blue ribbons. God I wish I had those recipes!
All summer squash are extremely prolific. In the height of the season [beginning NOW], if you don't know someone who's trying to pawn off a bushel or a bag onto you, then check out your local farmers market. When I was at mine the other day, they were 4 for $1.00, and ORGANIC. Super economical, wonderfully delish, and good for ya too! So whether you are sitting more than you know what to do with, or if you just been passing them by unsure of what to make with them....here are two of my favorite recipes for Summer garden staple!
Crookneck and Coconut Cream Soup w/ Chorizo Meatballs
MAKING THE MEATBALLS
1/4 lb. ground pork
1/4 lb. ground beef
1 lb. chorizo ( beef or pork )
1 16oz bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well combined. Make 1 inch balls and bake on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until a little crunch crust forms, about 25 minutes. Cool and reserve.
Combine the following in a large pot over low heat:
4 cups stock: vegetable, chicken, shrimp, or a combination
1 19 oz can coconut cream ( not milk )
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
salt and white pepper to taste
On your trusty Webber or a stovetop grill until cooked and with char :
4 to 5 medium crookneck squash slice in half moons
2 medium sweet onions, medium-sliced
1 small-diced red bell pepper
[Toss veggies with a little olive oil before grilling]
When broth is hot, added grilled vegetables plus:
3 ears of fresh sweet corn, shucked and kernels sliced off the cob
Ladle into bowls, and place 3 meatballs in each. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
Crookneck & Custard Casserole
8 medium crookneck squash, sliced into 1/2 thick rounds (2 lbs)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup milk or half &half
1 small onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
2 cups coarse breadcrumbs, preferably seasoned
2 cups shredded white cheddar or Gruyere
6 strips bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9x13 ovenproof casserole. To a large pot of boiling water, add squash and cook until barely wilted, about 3 minutes.
With a whisk, incorporate milk, eggs, butter, onion, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add cooked squash and thoroughly combine. Transfer to casserole and sprinkle over crumbs, cheese, and bacon. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and crunchy.