Shorter, fatter and less flamboyantly green than the more familiar zucchini, Mexican gray squash makes up for its less dramatic visual appeal with a buttery texture and slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Imported from south of the border where it is called "calabacita," the stubby squash with light-green silvery-gray-streaked skin may also occasionally be found at farmers markets and specialty grocers as domestic growers increase production. Its larger girth and meatier flesh makes gray squash a favored choice for robust side dishes and savory entrees.
Gently Grilled Slices
Cut Mexican gray squash lengthwise or across the diameter in circles to make one-half-inch-thick slices. Brush olive oil on both sides of the slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt and ground black pepper.
Place the squash slices on a grill over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until they develop rich, brown char marks. Turn the slices over to grill until they are tender when a fork is inserted, which typically takes another 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the squash from the grill and serve warm with a squeeze of lemon juice, a spoonful of salsa or a sprinkle of your favorite fresh chopped herbs.
Spicy Southwestern Saute
Chop Mexican gray squash and red onions into one-half-inch cubes.
Add the vegetables to a frying pan with olive oil over medium-high, stirring occasionally until they are light golden brown. Turn the heat down to medium and mix in seasonings to taste, which may include red pepper flakes, minced garlic and cumin.
Drizzle 1 or 2 tablespoons of chicken or vegetable stock into the pan and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and the flavors meld.
Stylishly Stuffed Squash
Cut Mexican gray squash in half lengthwise. Using a small melon baller, scoop out the center of each half to create a cavity for stuffing. Place the squash cut side up in a well-greased baking pan.
Spoon stuffing made of cooked grains mixed with aromatic vegetables and seasoning into the cavity of each squash half. Top the stuffed squash with canned diced tomatoes and their juices.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. The squash is done when it is tender enough to insert a fork, but still firm enough to retain its shape.
Add canned or frozen corn kernels and chopped tomatoes while sauteing Mexican gray squash. Top with crumbled Mexican cheese to create a more hearty side dish.
Avoid buying Mexican gray squash that have broken-off stems, cracks or scrapes, which can occur due to damage from shipping.