This summer, our farmer’s market has produced particularly perfect summer squash. My recent favorites have been Romanesco, Zephyr, and Eight Ball. Romanescos are a long fluted variety with multicolored green skin from Italy.
Delicious Romanesco zucchini
Zephyrs look like an elongated yellow crookneck with light green at the flower end. Round Eight Balls vary from about the size of a baseball, to that of a grapefruit and have deep zucchini-green coloring. They all hold their texture and color beautifully when cooked.
The best way to really bring out the summer sweetness in the squash is to broil it in your oven or grill it over direct flame. Sauteeing and steaming don’t do the flavor of these great summer treats justice.
The fastest method for me, (not having a bar-b-que) is to slice them into strips, lay them out on a baking sheet in a single layer, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Then I broil them on high for about 4 minutes per side.
Note that anytime you use the broiler, you need to pay close attention to your food so as not to burn it. Use a kitchen timer. No walking away for more than a few seconds! Try to cut your squash into even slices so they’ll cook consistently. Otherwise you have under done bits and burnt bits. Not the end of the world, but even slices come out better. Be sure to oil and salt the other side when you flip them. That’s it.
As always, if you have good sweet produce to start with, this simple cooking method will blow people away. Do a little experiment if you want to. Steam a couple of slices of the same summer squash that you broil. Totally different outcome. I like to serve broiled squash as a side dish all on its own (it’s that flavorful), on pizza, in cold grain salads, or on pasta.