Smothered Squash with Basil

I went to grad school in upstate NY, and arrived one early summer. Syracuse was so different from any place I'd lived before. I found it grey and chilly, despite the summertime, and forlorn with a negative growth rate.

Then I found the farmers' market and everything seemed a little brighter on Saturday mornings. It showed me the value of having fabulous, fresh, local veggies (not to mention the fresh doughnuts -- worth the wait in line) long before I got a little green. Ever since I've sought out markets wherever I live, and have yet to find a farmers' market quite as good.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an ad for a downtown farmers' market in my hometown. I was pysched and wanted to head down to support it. This town is not the kind of place that bends easily to change or new ideas so this is a bit of a big deal.

So off my mom and I go, my mom sporting her market bag I crocheted her. Unfortunately, we didn't really need it; it hasn't gotten to be that type of market yet. It was mostly baked goods, breads and pies, paintings, jewelry, and a few stands of limited veggies and herbs. I did find a beautiful bunch of basil, which excited me more than is logical or reasonable. I have no excuse, except that I absolutley love the smell and taste of basil.

I haven't cooked a lot with basil, so I googled it up and found a simple recipe on Epicurious that also would use the yellow summer squash I'd bought by the pound. I was surprised by this recipe. Usually when I see smothered, I think cheesey and rich, as in "scattered, smothered, covered, chunked." This smothered is from Cajun cuisine, meaning to brown in oil, then braise in a small amount of liquid, tightly covered, until tender. I altered the recipe by adding more basil. It went so well with the squash and made an amazingly good dish.

Smothered Squash with Basil
adapted from

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lb medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add half of squash and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Transfer browned squash to a bowl, then heat remaining tablespoon oil and sauté remaining squash in same manner.
3. Return squash in bowl to skillet. Add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.
4. Add water, salt, and pepper and simmer briskly, covered, until squash is tender and most of liquid is evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes.
5. Stir in basil.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ooh...yum it sounds delicious. I'll have to try it soon.