Grandma was, as I’ve said, a great cook. Everything she made was delicious and this is not hyperbole. I’m not sure she ever made anything that I wouldn’t eat. If she did, I’ve blocked it out. What this really means is that I always trusted that what she made would be good. As a result, by the time I was ten, I had tried far more exotic foods than my friends. I’d eaten lamb, sushi, all kinds of vegetables and fish. Lots of fish.
See, my grandfather’s two passions were wine and fishing. He indulged the wine passion by starting an import business and becoming a local expert in wines. He indulged the fishing by buying a boat with his brother and spending his weekends on the water. Sometimes he’d catch fish, which my grandmother would then cook, sometimes he wouldn’t. But what he caught didn’t really matter. What really mattered was the process of fishing. I’d say that as a result I can provide you with lots of fish recipes but, sadly, fish is one of the few things I can’t get my husband to try. His palate has expanded since meeting me but fish is just one of those things that he won’t eat.
Anyway, I was a child with adventurous tastes. But I didn’t really like summer squash and zucchini. Lots of people don’t, especially kids. It’s not a problem unless you do a lot of seasonal, local shopping. If you do, well, then you know that one of the most prolific vegetables around these parts are summer (yellow) squash and zucchini. Enter Grandma’s magic cooking. She was able to make a simple summer squash and zucchini dish that even I would eat. In fact, it has become one of my favorite go-to veggie dishes in the summer. Of course, the one drawback is that it isn’t so pretty. However, I think there’s a whole category of food that isn’t pretty but is tasty.
Unpretty Summer Squash and Zucchini
1-2 summer squash (it will depend on size)
1-2 zucchini (again, size dependent)
1/2-1 large onion
aproximately 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
Peel onion and slice into medium to small pieces. Cut off the ends of the summer squash and zucchini (no need to peel them) and then cut into slices. Sometimes I do this by hand, sometimes I use my Cuisinart. The important thing is to make sure the slices are all the same size so they’ll cook evenly.
Heat up a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. (Apparently, you should generally add oil to a warm pan, not a cold one. Who knew?) When the oil is sort of shiny, about 30 sec. to 1 minute, add the onions and saute them until they’re soft (about 5-8 minutes). Add the squash and zucchini and let them all cook together until they’re sort of brown and just this side of burned. Don’t crowd the pan like I did- it will take them longer to brown. The squash and zucchini will get soft and then sort of crusty-crispy and the onions will be a cross between caramelized and fried. Salt and pepper to taste.