It's so gratifying to cook with summer produce at its peak ripeness because very little need be done to make it sing. Summer squash (and corn, which is also in this skillet) are the perfect example. They’re sweet, crisp, and the happiest yellow hue ever. I love cherry picking a variety of squash at my Sunday farmer's market. My favorites are the yellow patty pan and small narrow squash with a green tip, which you'll see below. If you follow along on Instagram, you'll recognize this market haul from last week.
Summer squash have a natural affinity towards cumin, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno, which are the flavors that round out this skillet. Squash can get soft if stewed or cooked in soup. But here I like to cut them into substantial pieces and char in a cast iron so they pick up a little smoke and still have a bite. The skillet is finished with a cilantro oil made simply by blending cilantro leaves, lemon, olive oil, water and salt.
Serve as a side dish….OR my favorite: make a meal out of it by topping with a poached or fried egg or grilled halloumi (marinated tofu for vegans). Summer in a skillet!
Summer Squash Skillet
Notes: I use a mix of regular yellow squash (small and narrow so they're not watery) and patty pan squash. Recipe calls for cooked corn on the cob. I char the corn in the cast-iron skillet first, then cook the squash. No need to clean the pan in between. The skillet is nicely preheated for the squash this way, too. See instructions for charring corn in a cast iron here. Serve this skillet as a side dish or make a meal out of it by topping with a poached or fried egg or grilled halloumi (marinated tofu for vegans)
2 lbs. (1 kg.) mixed summer squash
2 Tbsp. butter (or ghee)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 ears of corn, charred
1/2 large bunch cilantro (60 gr), divided
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 jalapeno, minced
Cilantro Oil (recipe below)
Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Slice regular oblong squash into 1/4-1/2 in thick rounds (you don't want them thin). Chop patty pan squash into irregular bite-size pieces.
Once pan is hot, add butter and olive oil. It should melt immediately. If not, the pan's not hot enough. Add squash, stir to cover in butter and oil. Cook on medium-high heat 2-3 minutes per side. Don't stir while it's cooking so you get a good char. You'll probably have to adjust heat down to medium by the second side.
While squash is cooking, cut corn off cob. Finely chop stems of cilantro. Set aside for adding to skillet later. Roughly chop cilantro leaves and stems that are among the leaves. Reserve for cilantro oil recipe below.
Once squash is cooking the final minute on second side, add corn, finely chopped cilantro stems, garlic, cumin and jalapeno. Cook through one more minute.
Serve and drizzle with cilantro oil to finish.
Reserved chopped cilantro leaves
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. water
Juice 1/2 juicy large lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
Add everything to a small blender such as the measuring cup attachment of an immersion blender. Blend until smooth.