They look like little French berets in green and yellow, or tam-o-shanters, and when they first turned up in our CSA pick-up many years ago, I thought they were some sort of decorative gourd you might use in a seasonal centerpiece. But I soon learned that pattypan (or cymling) squash is a member of the Cucurbita family of summer squash with edible skin, seeds, and very moist flesh. No peeling necessary! It makes a worthy substitute for zucchini or marrow.
When you buy, look for smooth, taut flesh (a cut or two is fine). Avoid spongy texture. The taste of pattypans is very mild, but flavor affinities include basil, dill, mint, marjoram, and oregano. They pair well with other summer vegetables like eggplant and tomatoes. They do release a lot of liquid in cooking!
Grill them, stuff, them, roast them, fry them … just don’t leave them in the middle of your table doing nothing!
Grilled Lemon-Herb Pattypan Squash
3 -4 pattypan squash, rinsed
4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs fresh oregano or other mixed Mediterranean herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil), chopped
2 -3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
Slice off the stem of each pattypan. Then cut into ¼ – ½” slices, depending on how you like them.
In a separate container (preferably a recloseable one in which you can marinate the vegetables), whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice until emulsified. Add the herbs, garlic and salt and stir to combine. Add the squash and stir to coat (or use your hands!). Cover (or seal) and refrigerate for at least a half hour and up to two hours. If you can, let them come back to room temperature while the grill heats up. Then cook – about three minutes each side – until you reach desired temperature and char. Sprinkle with finishing salt if desired and serve.
Find more simple seasonal recipes at Natalia’s blog Hot, Cheap & Easy