Making the Most of Interchangeable Summer Squash
Yellow squash and zucchini are both varieties of summer squash with virtually identical flavors and textures. Some yellow squash are the same shape and size as zucchini; others are yellow patty pans shaped like flying saucers. Substitute yellow squash for zucchini in any recipe, whether it involves baking or stove-top cooking. The only recognizable difference you will notice is the green and yellow colors.
Zucchini layers well in casseroles, such as zucchini lasagna and egg-based zucchini bakes. Yellow squash can be comfortably substituted for zucchini in any casserole recipe without requiring different handling or changing the flavor of the dish. Steam or saute zucchini or yellow squash lightly to soften it before mixing it with other casserole ingredients. Incorporate a mix of zucchini and yellow squash to make your casserole especially colorful.
Shredded In Quickbreads
Yellow squash shreds as well as zucchini for use in quickbreads, and the only difference will be in the color. Like zucchini, yellow summer squash contribute to a moist loaf that is sweet enough to eat for dessert or dense and nutty enough to anchor a healthy breakfast. Add cocoa powder or melted chocolate to a zucchini bread recipe to amp up the flavor.
Zucchini roasts gracefully, making dense, lightly caramelized chunks. The oven's high heat evaporates their plentiful moisture, leaving flavor and a chewiness quite unlike the raw squash. Yellow squash roasts in precisely the same way. Like zucchini, it can stand on its own in a simple dish of seasoned, roasted yellow squash, or it can be part of a colorful roasted vegetable mix, along with other summer favorites, such as peppers and eggplant. Use roasted zucchini or summer squash as a pizza topping as well. Roasting the squash separately before assembling the pizza will concentrate its flavor. Layering raw summer squash on top of pizza and letting it roast when you bake the pizza will provide a thicker, moister topping.
Stuffed, But Not Stuffy
Yellow squash, like zucchini, can be stuffed with grains and meat, and baked so the flavors of the filling infuse the vegetable shell. Yellow squash that are cylindrical, like zucchini, can be cut in long, thin boats for stuffing. Slice patty pans across the top, about an inch from the tip, to make a smooth circular surface, then cut the chunks in half lengthwise. Blanch them by dropping the chunks in boiling water for a minute or two, then scoop out the flesh to form a cavity for filling. Finely chop some of the pulp you scoop out and add it to the other filling ingredients before stuffing them back into the peels. Top with grated cheese or chopped nuts and bake until the cheese melts or the nuts start to brown.
Devra Gartenstein is a self-taught professional cook who has authored two cookbooks: "The Accidental Vegan", and "Local Bounty: Seasonal Vegan Recipes". She founded Patty Pan Cooperative, Seattle's oldest farmers market concession, and teaches regular cooking classes.