If you’re new to this blog, please read this first!
As Pat Conroy wrote:
a recipe is a story
And I now know–and am continuing to explore how–these recipes are a part of my story.
Being back on the Mediterranean last month in early September really reminded me of the wonders of olive oil and lemon juice– and garlic of course!
Today, I want to share one of my favorite side dishes that works well both towards the end of the summer because of its freshness, and in the fall because, as anyone who walks into any market can attest, it’s squash season.
A couple of years ago, while I was rediscovering how to eat, I found this white summer squash at the supermarket, and I immediately thought of one of the dishes I used to love when I was a teen in Lebanon.
I had become so used to seeing regular zucchini, that I was surprised to find them so casually at my neighborhood Ralph’s (Kroger-subsidiary in Southern California.
I immediately bought a bag-full and was so excited to recreate an old favorite out of memory that evening. This is the perfect recipe to share in post #2 of delicious childhood recipes from Lebanon that make for simple, easy, quick and healthy dinners. To make it a full meal, you can roast some chicken in the oven, and make this easy 15-minute dish when you’re ready to eat:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (Tip from my mom: Squeeze a lot of lemon juice every few days and keep a small jar in the fridge at all times to reduce cooking/salad-making time in the evenings.)
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed (I love this garlic press I found at Williams-Sonoma. Another great way to reduce prep time).
- 1.5 tsp salt
- Dash of pepper
- 3 lbs white squash (You can use regular zucchini, below left, if you can’t find these).
- Crush the 2 large garlic cloves and pour salt over them in a medium-sized bowl. Mash a bit with a fork. (This is a tip from my mother-in-law who’s a great cook. Really unleashes the fresh flavor of the garlic)
- Then pour in the olive oil and lemon juice over the garlic and salt, and whisk all together. Let them sit together to infuse.
- Boil a large pot of salted water.
- Wash the squash and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.
- When the water boils, add the squash pieces, cook for 3 minutes and drain well. You want them a bit crispy because they’ll continue to cook once they’re off the heat. Don’t worry if they brown a bit too.
- Add the squash to the bowl with the sauce mixture. Add a dash of black pepper. Toss and enjoy! (Yes, that easy).
Best when served fresh and warm, but does OK if you have leftovers for lunch the next day.
I recommend serving this in a small bowl. You want to have plenty of the sauce with each bite of squash.
Note: You can use this sauce and method with so many other vegetables, including thin green beans and potatoes. I’ll share these at a later point. But I love the combo with squash.