Thursday, September 15, 2011
Summer Squash: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
It's been a busy busy week - the last week before we leave to Italy, OMG!!! And also, Loretta Lynch has a brand new album, more than a year in the making, that we are scrambling to promote prior to our big CD release show on November 4th. Since several of us band members will be traveling over the next month, we're doing our best to get things in order now. It's a little insane, and it's all good! But in light of all that, the house has been a mess, sleeping patterns are all messed up, and eating and meal planning has been sporadic at best. Thank goodness for all that squash!
Last night, a lovely salad came together, inspired once again by the wonderful cookbook Plenty. The recipe in the book suggests a simple combination of grilled squash with fresh basil, hazelnuts, balsamic vinegar and shaved parmesan. But I used walnuts instead of hazelnuts, and beefed it up a bit by adding lentils and cooked barley, since I happened to have that in the house. The final touch was pepper cress directly from the garden (pepper cress: my new favorite garden item! hot! spicy! peppery!). I was quite thrilled with this lovely meal that came together in the midst of chaos all around, and in spite of a mostly bare fridge.
Here is a loose guide:
First, slice some summer squash: about 1 medium squash per person. Toss it in olive oil and add a light sprinkling of salt & pepper.
Grill the squash or cook it in a grill pan, as I did. Get it a little charred on the outside but stop cooking before it gets too tender - you want it to have a bit of bite to it still.
If you like, you can also grill some sliced red onions or shallots.
Set the squash & onions or shallots aside in a bowl, and toss with a light sprinkling of balsamic vinegar.
Take some fresh basil and tear the leaves and sprinkle into the bowl with the squash. Toss it all together and divide the squash mixture onto plates.
If serving with lentils & barley as I did, combine the lentils & barley and add more olive oil, salt & pepper, basil and a bit more balsamic vinegar. Add a scoop of this mixture to each salad plate.
Top each salad plate with toasted walnuts & shaved parmesan, and garnish with pepper cress and another little drizzle of olive oil.
And there you have it, dinner! Good with bread, if you've got it, or croutons, or lots of wine, or all of the above!
Can't wait to post all kinds of updates about Italy - and more importantly... can't wait to GO TO ITALY! Much to do before then - things to pack, music to promote, squash to pick. Life is good! Ciao for now!