Bright, colorful summer squash are sweet and tender, with a mild flavor that shines in all kinds of dishes. Serve them raw or grilled, steamed, or roasted — you’ll be amazed how versatile they are! Follow these tips for working with summer squash, then try new recipes from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.
Look for: Choose zucchini that are dark, firm, and heavy for their size. Purchase zucchini and yellow squash when small — they will be sweeter and more tender. Store them, wrapped in paper towels, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Prep tips: Rinse the squashes and trim the ends with a sharp knife. Their thin, flavorful skins do not require peeling. Keep smaller squash whole for roasting; larger ones can be cut into slices or chunks for grilling or sautéing. If you plan to stuff them, cut yellow squashes in half lengthwise and hollow each one gently with a teaspoon. Some recipes call for salting zucchini, especially larger ones, to remove excess moisture. Place it in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes. Here’s your toolkit:
- Williams-Sonoma House Olive Oil, to drizzle over grilled or roasted squash for side dishes and antipasti
- Paderno Spiralizer, for creating “noodles” out of summer squash
- Le Creuset Cast-Iron Rectangular Skinny Grill, for grilling squash indoors or out
- de Buyer Kobra Adjustable Slicer, to slice squash and zucchini into thin ribbons or disks
- Stainless-Steel 3-Piece Mesh Colander Set, for rinsing squash and salting zucchini
- Microplane Elite Paddle Graters, to grate zucchini for salads and baking
Uses: Simply sautéed in butter or olive oil, summer squash make a beautiful topping for pasta or accompaniment to roasted meats, poultry or fish. Grilling and roasting brings out their sweetness. Zucchini also take well to simmering in soups, quick-steaming, frying, or gentle, slow cooking to enhance their delicate flavor. Sliced or grated raw, zucchini are wonderful in fresh salads and on antipasto plates.
Variations: Squash blossoms are the brilliant yellow flowers still attached to immature zucchini when they turn up at the market in the late spring. The flowers can be sautéed and used in quesadillas, pastas or soups. Or, fill them with cheese, then batter and deep-fry. They are highly perishable, so use within a day of purchasing.
Grilled Summer Squash: Cut squash into slices 1/4-inch thick; toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until nicely marked on both sides, then toss with balsamic vinaigrette. Serve as a side dish or as part of an antipasti platter.
Baked Summer Squash with Herbed Bread Crumbs: Halve squash lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side up in a baking dish. Toss bread crumbs with chopped fresh herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil; sprinkle over squash. Bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Zucchini & Feta Salad: Using a mandoline, thinly slice zucchini lengthwise into long strips. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, crumbled feta and chopped toasted pecans or walnuts.
Pasta with Summer Squash: Using a mandoline or spiralizer, cut zucchini and yellow squash into long julienne. Saute squash with chopped shallots in olive oil until tender. Toss with drained cooked pasta, chopped fresh herbs and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Zucchini Tart: Roll out puff pastry into rectangle. Stir together feta, ricotta, lemon juice and an egg. Spread on pastry. Arrange thinly sliced zucchini on top in a single layer. Brush with olive oil and bake at 350°F until nicely browned.
Stuffed Squash Blossoms: Stir together ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, chopped mint, an egg yolk, and salt. Fill squash blossoms with cheese mixture. Dredge in 1/2 cup flour mixed with 1/4 tsp. salt and 3/4 cup sparkling water. Fry in vegetable oil until golden.