Pattypan squash is one of the ancient, oft-forgotten vegetables that fortunately is making a comeback in market stalls and garden plots.
You’ve probably seen them popping up this summer in the farmer’s market or maybe in you local supermarket. And you more than likely passed on them because your have no idea what to do with them.
The pattypan is a variety of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) notable for its small size, round, slightly flat shallow shape, and scalloped edges They kind of remind you of a small toy spinning top. They are also known as a button squash or scallop squash in the United States. Meanwhile in France, the are known as pâtisson, where the word is derived from a Provençal word for a cake made in a scalloped mould. However, contrary to appearances, it does not belong to the same variety as winter squash but to that of zucchini . They can be white, yellow, orange, or green, or even variegated in being both white and green or green and yellow. Pattypans have a texture similar to zucchini. And like zucchini they are best when they are picked very young and no longer than 3 to 4 inches in diameter. They are very firm in texture and have a crisp peppery flavor.
Pattypan is a good source of magnesium, niacin, and vitamins A and C. One cup contains approximately 20 to 30 calories and no fat. It is often sliced, baked, or coated and fried until golden brown, or simply boiled.
Here, I adapted a classic French recipe where you can roast and grill them and serve them with a beautiful lemony garlic sauce.
For the Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
For the Squash:
2 pounds medium/large pittypan squash
2 pounds large pattypan squash
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
To make the sauce, heat a cast-iron skillet over low heat. Add the olive oil. Add the garlic and fry until lightly golden brown. Stir in the lemon zest and the salt. Remove from heat. Pour the sauce into a pyrex measuring cup and set aside. Using paper towels, wipe the skill clean.
For the Squash:
Using the same cast-iron skillet, heat over high heat. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
Alternately, prepare a hot outdoor grill.
Slice the squash 3/4 inch thick and toss in a large bowl with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Sear in the hot pan for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until the surface is lightly browned, and transfer to a sheet pan. Place in the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn the pieces over and roast for another 5 minutes, until they are sizzling and tender all the way through. Remove from the heat.
If grilling, grill the pieces for about 5 minutes on each side, until they are tender all the way through and beginning to drip and grill marks are visible.
To serve, transfer the squash slices to a platter. Drizzle with the lemon garlic sauce and granish with fresh chopped parsley if desired. Serve hot or warm.
Notes on Choosing and Storing Pattypan Squash:
Choose your pattypan squash well:
Pattypan squash should be smooth and very firm, and the skin should not have spots.
Smaller pattypan squashes are better than bigger ones, as their flesh is tenderer.
Larger pattypan squashes are great for making stuffed squash.
Properly store your pattypan squash:
In the refrigerator: Store for two to three days in the vegetable drawer, as it will last less long than squashes that are in season in winter (winter squash, red kuri squash, butternut squash, etc.).
In the freezer: Blanch pattypan squash before freezing.
Zero Waste Tips:
Don’t throw away the patty pan squash seeds. Roast them in a pan or in the oven with salt or spices. They are delicious as a snack or in a salad.
Leftover squash is also great in salads or chopped up and thrown into frittatas or grain salads, so cook more than you need and enjoy using up the extras.
Pattypan Squash. (2020). Louis Bonduelle Foundation. Date Accessed: August 14, 2021. https://www.fondation-louisbonduelle.org/en/vegetable/pattypan-squash/.
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