Farm Fresh Pick of the Week: Summer Squash

Friday, June 29, 2012 6:00

From Top to Blossom

By Casey Pukl

Squash is the budget friendly chef’s best friend. They’re easily available year round, filling, and versatile! With so many different varieties, there are endless possibilities from making squash chips to faux spaghetti. My personal favorite (until I tried Executive Chef Kristen Burman’s dish for this week) is half of a roasted butternut squash with cinnamon for breakfast.

But today, we’re talking about summer squash! What is summer squash exactly? I’m glad you asked! While both summer and winter squash are available year-round, summer squash varieties are classified as those that spoil faster, therefore cannot be kept for quite as long. For instance, butternut squash is considered a winter squash because it can be stored for up to a month. Summer squashes are similar to zucchini.

Read on to find out what delicious pairing our culinary team has in store this week!

Shaved Baby Summer Squash Salad
Ricotta Stuffed Blossoms, Pecorino, Hazelnut Vinaigrette

I am such a sucker for squash blossoms. I first was introduced to them fairly recently, and any time I see them on a menu, there’s a 100% chance that they’ll wind up on my plate.

For this lovely summer salad, Burman used a few varieties of baby summer squash from Crow’s Pass Farm in Temecula. She first shaved the squash into thin strips using a mandolin. “A mandolin is such a great tool to have in your kitchen, and you can easily find an inexpensive one at Bed Bath and Beyond or an Asian market,” she says. Once the squash is shaved, move onto the pecorino.

Next, you’ll want to get started  on your hazelnut vinaigrette. Mince shallots, and then combine with white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and hazelnut oil.

Toss the squash, pecorino, and some arugula together in the vinaigrette.

For the squash blossoms, stuff them with herbed ricotta (just mix some fresh herbs into some fresh ricotta). Next, batter them (Burman recommends using seasoned flour and cold beer mixed together until they form a thick batter), and fry them at 350 until they are golden brown.

Recommended Wine Pairing
Riesling, Donhoff, Auslese, Nahe, 2004

This riesling is not for the faint of heart. With bold flavors and a long finish, this one is just now coming into its prime drinking period. There is  a brightness to this wine from the second the aromas hit your nose. The nose has strong notes of honey, green apple, and a hint of pineapple. On the palate, there are very concentrated flavors of sweet cherries, candied apples, and red fruits. There are also noticeable traces of white fruit and minerals. The finish is long and peppered with green apple.

“Now is the perfect time to drink this vintage,” says Director of Restaurant Operations, Marc Canzoneri. “In 2004, this vintage was a little tart and had a vague sulfuric aroma. Over time, the wine still maintained its acidity, but really developed a sweet nose and fabulous palate. When paired with the squash salad, both the wine and the delicate hazelnut dressing both shine.”

Be sure to come on down and give this pairing a try! If you’re a little further away, then snap a picture of your version, and post it to our facebook page: !