Friday, September 11, 2009

Squash "Pizza"

What to do with all that summer squash lying around? What to do, what to do...

This is the point in the summer when gardens and refrigerators nationwide are overflowing with zucchini and squash. No matter how many times this happens, each ensuing year we magically forget and plant just as many seeds--if not more--as last year. And then for a month, it's all we can do to come up with ways to down it: squash pancakes, zucchini ice cream, gratins, frittatas--the resulting creativity is directly proportional to the amount of produce rotting in your vegetable drawer.

This summer squash "pizza crust" strategy was quite good in theory, but was not (for me) so good in execution. I can think of a number of reasons for this, but I prefer to blame it on the recipe. Except I kind of didn't follow the recipe.

The concept is all over the 'net (see here for the most oft repeated example) and seems to be some sort of diet strategy for replacing bread in one's meal. Phooey is all I have to say to that. It involves shredded squash, some flour and egg for binding, and a flipping strategy that I left out but might just be necessary, I can say in hindsight.

I just pressed the "dough" into a cake pan, baked it, topped it, and baked it some more. It seems if you get sassy an flip the baked "crust" out, then top and double bake, you might achieve something more akin to a congealed mass. Ours was congealed, but still pretty mushy, though the flavors were great. Maybe you can mess with it and give me some suggestions?

Summer Squash "Pizza"
serves 2; start-to-finish, about 1 hour

2 cups shredded squash or zucchini
1/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1/3 cup grated cheese (I used gruyere, yum, but you could use a combination of parmesan and mozzarella if you want, like the original recipe calls for)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 medium clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
  1. Sprinkle some salt over the shredded squash and let sit in a colander in your sink for about half an hour. This will get rid of a lot of moisture. Preheat your oven to 350º.
  2. Squeeze water from squash and combine with remaining ingredients (reserving 2 Tbsp basil). Press into well-greased baking receptacle: I used 9-inch cake pan which made a great thickness. Maybe you just want to mound it on a cookie sheet, I don't know. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until edges begin to brown and mixture is firm.
  3. The step I didn't do: flip crust out onto another cookie sheet or the like, brush with oil and bake 5 minutes more.
  4. Up the temperature in your oven to 450º. Top your "pizza crust" with thin slices of (preferably heirloom) tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese starts to brown, 5ish minutes. Sprinkle basil over top.

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