As June turns to July, one of the first stops I make is a little farm stand about 15 minutes from our house. It is run by a family that believes that garden fresh vegetables do not require chemical sprays to flourish and nourish. As strange as it sounds, finding a live grub or two in my ear of corn sets my mind at ease. Of course, I still squeal like a pre-teen girl at a Justin Bieber concert (though in disgust, not feverish excitement) until the crawling creature is disposed of by my husband. This year, however, the farm stand opened late – two days ago, to be exact. After weeks of driving past the entrance to the farm – a stealthy stalker I am not – I finally steered my car towards the downtown Salt Lake City farmer’s market to get my fix of organic vegetables.
That is where I came upon this monstrous pattypan squash. At least, that is what the vendor called it. The pattypan squashes I am familiar with are typically miniature specimens, no more than 2 or 3 inches in diameter. This squash, however, had grown to 7 or 8 inches, but with the same distinctive scalloped edges of its smaller siblings. If you do not happen upon a squash like this, feel free to use summer squash or small pattypans instead. I cut it into thick slices, tossed it with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and gave it a quick blast on a hot grill. Tossed with balsamic vinegar, grape tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh mint, this salad is phenomenally good served warm, but is still very tasty when served at room temperature.
Preheat grill to high heat.
Cut 1 large (about 1 3/4 pounds) pattypan squash, or equal weight of summer squash, into 1/2-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, toss the squash slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Lay the squash on the grill and cook until the squash is tender, but still slightly crisp, about 3 minutes per side.
Put the squash back into the bowl and add about 16 grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half, 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thinly slice fresh mint leaves (about 5 large leaves). Gently toss and serve either still warm (preferable) or room temperature.
Grilled Pattypan (or Summer) Squash, Tomato & Feta Salad
1 (1 3/4 pounds) pattypan squash, or equivalent weight in summer squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
16 grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp thinly sliced fresh mint
Preheat grill to high heat.
Cut squash into 1/2-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, toss the squash slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay the squash on the grill and cook until the squash is tender, but still slightly crisp, about 3 minutes per side.
Put the squash back into the bowl and add tomatoes, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, and mint leaves. Gently toss and serve either still warm (preferable) or room temperature.
Serves 6 as side dish.