The Case for the Superior Squash Season
Summer varieties redefine the meaning of “off-the-vine” fresh.
As the tendrils of vines lead the trail towards the sun, check underneath the canopy. There lies the bounty of summer, brilliantly green and gold, drooping under the trellises. Though squash can be found in the fall and winter, the summer sibling makes a strong claim to the cucurbit throne. Thin, edible skin and a greater water content gives the gourd a cool, refreshing bite that can be used in grilled salads, terrines, or even eaten raw (bonus points for House Summer). What fall and winter gourds do in stews and soups, summer squash does lighter and with far less calories.
When you need to bulk up your meal, turn to the zucchini, the slightly sweeter, green-skinned cousin. The spongier flesh absorbs oils easily, which turns them tantalizingly tender in sautés, and stir-fries. The season brings an abundance of both varieties, so use them both in Mediterranean chickpea farinata—the perfect canvas for any summer vegetables.
The plants also keep producing well into season, which means these garden heroes flower incessantly. The delicate yellow blooms only appear for a short time before becoming gourds. Harvest those alluring flowers to redirect energy back to the growing fruit. Dainty squash blossoms have a mild, herbaceous flavor that deep-fries into crispy, golden-petaled snacks. The tulip shape makes an ideal pocket to hold creamy, gooey, mozzarella or briny, savory anchovies. Spread the rest of the blossoms over pizza with creamy burrata that rivals any contender for the best summer pie. Check out all the ways we use every part of this bumper crop.
While these savory chickpea pancakes are delicious plain, they also make an excellent canvas for roasted summer vegetables like zucchini. Get the recipe for Farinata with Summer Squash, Goat Cheese, and Preserved Lemon »
This shoulder season salad has one indispensable ingredient: fire. Regardless of time of year, the recipe takes full advantage of whatever gourds are available.pea pancakes are delicious plain, they also make an excellent canvas for roasted summer vegetables like zucchini. Get the recipe for Charred Squash with Sardo Cheese, Mint, and Fresh Greens »
“If you toss hot vegetables with a cold vinaigrette right after grilling, it will absorb more flavor,” says Kyle Knall, chef of New York City’s Maysville and the soon-to-be-opened Kenton’s, a whiskey-focused restaurant in New Orleans. Get the recipe for Grilled Summer Squash Salad »
Similar to an unripe mango or green papaya, julienned squash has a slightly “green” flavor that pairs well with the classic Thai flavors in this quick, brothy dish. Get the recipe for Sautéed Squash and Shrimp with Coconut Milk and Chiles »
The spongelike nature of squash makes them an ideal candidate to cook confit, says chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union. They soften into the warm oil, absorbing the flavor of the herbs. Get the recipe for Herbed Squash Confit »
Light and airy, with a subtle squash flavor, zucchini blossoms are wonderful to cook; they make a flavorful, delicate appetizer when stuffed with salty anchovies and fried. Since the blossoms have a short shelf life, use them within a day of purchasing. Be sure to remove the stamens before working with them. Get the recipe for Fried Anchovy-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms »
The recipe for this simple salad of grilled zucchini, avocado, and salty, crumbled añjeo cheese was served at a dinner party attended by Mexican composer Carlos Chávez and Nelson Rockefeller. Get the recipe for Frida Kahlo’s Zucchini Salad (Ensalada de Calabacín) »
Matchstick ribbons of zucchini and carrot mingle with grassy, fresh herbs, and roasted peanuts in this salad inspired by the flavors of Thailand. A pungent, savory, tart dressing brings the dish together. Get the recipe for Spicy Thai-Style Zucchini Carrot Salad »
Grilling adds smokiness to summer squash, a flavor that chef Steven Satterfield of Atlanta’s Miller Union balances with bright ingredients like vinegar, chile, and honey. Get the recipe for Grilled Squash and Scallions with Chile-Honey Vinaigrette »
Macerating zucchini in sugar creates a syrup that conjures flavors of sweet melons in this surprising dessert. Get the recipe for Zucchini Crisp »
Get creative with the topping for this tart, which will help to really stretch leftover squash and other vegetables. Store-bought puff pastry makes a simple dish even simpler. Get the recipe for Seasonal Squash Tart »
Squash, peppers, or eggplant can be substituted for the zucchini in this simple, savory summer pie. Get the recipe for Zucchini, Onion and Ricotta Pie (Torta Salata di Zucchine e Cipolle) »
This staple Korean rice dish can be made with meat or seafood and served hot, but we love this fresh-tasting cold, vegetarian version. Get the recipe for Bibimbap »
Mexico’s soups are famous for their freshness and simplicity. This one marries delicate squash blossoms with chiles, queso fresco, and shredded chicken in an enriched chicken broth. Get the recipe for Squash Blossom Soup (Caldo Xochitl con Flor de Calabaza) »
Squash blossoms bring color and a light texture to this fresh vegetable stew. Get the recipe for Squash Blossom Sauté (Guiso de Flor de Calabaza) »
Creamy walnut sauce is paired with golden pan-fried zucchini and smoked mozzarella on this Neapolitan-style pizza. Get the recipe for Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza (Pizza Noci e Zucchini) »
The warming kick of curry lends depth and zing to this creamy chilled soup; ice cubes made of lime juice and Thai basil add acidity and a light anise flavor as they melt. Get the recipe for Cold Curried Summer Squash Soup »
A North Fork Valley favorite in zucchini season, this moist chocolate cake gets its moistness from buttermilk. Get the recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake »
A simple dish of zucchini stuffed with pecorino and ricotta and flecked with tomato and mint is equally good eaten hot or at room temperature. It’s a perfect way to make use of end-of-summer produce. Get the recipe for Zucchini Stuffed with Ricotta (Zucchine Ripiene con Ricotta) »
Kuku Kadoo—an Iranian egg casserole—gets its bright color and exotic flavor from turmeric. Get the recipe for Persian Zucchini Frittata (Kuku Kadoo) »
This stunner of a pie features summer squash blossoms, creamy burrata, and a crisp, chewy crust. Get the recipe for Squash Blossom Pizza »
In Greece, these flatbreads are traditionally cooked on a hearthstone set over hot coals (a cast-iron skillet on the stove works well, too) and served with tomato sauce or sautéed zucchini and feta. Get the recipe for Flatbreads with Two Toppings (Laganes) »
Based on a recipe from author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, this Cretan meze dish can be served hot or at room temperature. Get the recipe for Zucchini Fritters (Kolokitho Keftedes) »
Any root vegetable—squash, carrots, turnips, potatoes—can be used to make this silky, umami-rich soup from award-winning Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo. Get the recipe for Makombu-Squash Soup »
Our take on this colorful vegetarian terrine features smoky roasted eggplant, peppers, and squash, tangy goat cheese, and a sun-dried tomato pesto. See the recipe for Roasted Vegetable Terrine »