Tired of zucchini and summer squash yet?
These two are such flexible vegetables. Steamed, sauteed, roasted, grilled in slabs, grated and made into fritter-like pancakes; grated and folded into zucchini breads, cookies, muffins and cakes; ground up and cooked into relishes with vinegar and pickling spices.
Once cooked, summer squash and zucchini prove to be good additions to salads and pasta dishes. Add eggplants, peppers and tomatoes for ratatouille. You can make soup out of them, and serve it warm or cold. That’s just a quick overview, hardly comprehensive.
Oddly, I had never marinated cubed zucchini or yellow squash chunks, then skewered and grilled them. So I did it — and it was a grand success. I found I could slide the chunks off the skewer onto my plate to enjoy the slightly smokey flavor of herbed squash all by themselves. They could also be added to greens for a hearty salad or tossed with pasta and spicy sausage for a more substantial main dish.
Because summer squashes and zucchini don’t have very assertive flavors, they absorb seasonings nicely. You could pick your favorite herbs to blend with the olive oil and vinegar. I chose oregano, parsley and garlic, and tossed some smoked paprika in. You might like a little heat and use red pepper flakes or chipotle powder. Your choice just has to stand up to grilling.
Consider adding sausage slices — sweet or spicy Italian or chorizo — to the skewers along with the squash chunks. Slide them off the skewers onto a bed of rice or pasta. Add parmesan or not. If you grill the vegetables until they are quite tender, they will become a sauce for the pasta.
The best part, though, with squash plants virtually squirting vegetables, is that grilling cuts them right down to size. I used up four medium small squashes for four servings. They cooked up tender but not watery. Each serving was substantial but not heavy.
And we felt so virtuous eating all those vegetables.
Skewered and Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash
Yields 4 servings
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 cups olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 scant tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
4 zucchinis and/or summer squashes
Salt and pepper
To make the marinade, put the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano and smoked paprika into a large bowl and whisk until it is emulsified.
Cut the squashes into chunks (about 1-2 inches long) and toss into the bowl of marinade. Mix until the squash is well coated. Set aside to marinate for at least an hour, stirring the squash occasionally in the marinade.
Skewer pieces of squash on a wooden skewer, alternating with slices of sausage if used.
Heat the grill to high. Once hot, reduce the heat to medium-high and lay the skewers on the grill grates, brushing them with additional marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Close the cover to hasten the cooking.
Grill, turning the skewers to expose each side to the heat, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 20 to 25 minutes.