Crookneck Squash: Two Ways
Sometimes I really wish this blog had a scratch ‘n’ sniff feature, and this is one of those times. I wish you could smell the crookneck squash roasting away in my oven at this moment. I know, you’re thinking, “Squash?! Forget squash, I want to smell those cheesecake brownies…” — but trust me, the sweet, mellow, nutty aroma wafting around my kitchen is something worth sharing. A coworker brought in some crookneck squash today; she had intended to plant summer squash, but somehow ended up with these strange-looking, nubbly vegetables instead. The crookneck’s skin is thicker, and its flesh firmer, than a zucchini or a summer squash, so I decided to fire up the oven for some roasting action. When sliced, the crookneck undergoes an ugly-duckling style transformation: its warty nubs, in cross-section, make the squash slices look like flower cutouts. Here are two ways to enjoy this delicious (and surprisingly beautiful) squash.
Baked Crookneck Squash with Tomatoes & Feta
1 crookneck squash, sliced
about 2 dozen cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Vidalia (or other sweet variety) onion, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
Layer the squash, onion, and cherry tomatoes in an oiled baking dish. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables. Sprinkle the feta on top (this tastes equally good without the feta, if you’d prefer a vegan dish). Bake at 400 F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until squash is easily pierced with a fork.
Crookneck Squash Chips
1 crookneck squash
dried herb blend of your choice
Thinly slice the crookneck squash into cross-sections. For the bulbous base, cut each cross-section into fourths. In a medium bowl, drizzle the slices with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and dried herbs, and toss to coat.
Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 425 F for 10 to 15 minutes. Flip the slices over and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. (These taste especially great with a summery pilsner — mmm, healthful beer snacks!)