By Tommy C. Simmons, an enthusiastic cook
Photographs by Tommy C. Simmons
A Zephyr squash looks like a blend of zucchini and yellow summer squash.
The Zephyr squash variety was new to me and seemed just the right size for a recipe I wanted to try from the new cookbook “Vegetarian Dinner Parties: 150 Meatless Meals Good Enough to Serve to Company” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. “You’ll love this squash,” the farmer at the Waleska Farmers’ Market said. “It’s our favorite summer squash, sweet, nutty tasting and firm enough to stuff or grill, as well,” she added.
Sold. I bought a bag of Zephyr squash and refrigerated the squash overnight before cooking.
I’m now a Zephyr squash fan. The squash is tender and full of flavor. If you have some growing in the garden or can find them at a farmers’ market, do try the Zephyr squash in this fun appetizer. If Zephyr squash aren’t available, substitute yellow summer squash or zucchini.
Squash noodles will be your new party favorite.
Home kitchen-tested recipe
Squash Noodles, Almond Chimichurri
Serves 6. Recipe is from “Vegetarian Dinner Parties: 150 Meatless Meals Good Enough to Serve to Company” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, published by Rodale.
½ cup whole roasted, unsalted almonds
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup packed fresh parsley
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro
3 tbls. fresh lemon juice
1 tbl. capers, rinsed
2 tsps. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 large yellow or summer squash
Place the almonds, oil, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, capers, garlic, salt and pepper in a large food processor. Pulse and process a bit, scraping down the inside of the bowl several times, until the mixture is a coarse paste. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
Run a vegetable peeler down the squash to make thin, long, waggily noodles. Rotate the squash after every few swipes so that the noodles remain evenly sized as you work your way around the vegetable. Stop when you reach the seed core on all sides. Discard the core and soldier on with the second squash.
The original recipe calls for raw squash, but if you prefer it cooked, prepare the noodles, cook covered in the microwave for 30 seconds, drain, and continue with Step 4. You can also lightly grill noodles on a George Forman grill.
Add the almond and herb paste to the bowl with the squash noodles. Toss gently to coat before mounding onto small plates.
Testing note: I used salted almonds and cut back on the salt in the recipe. Worked fine. I was more adept with a mandoline than a vegetable peeler for slicing the squash to make the noodles. Have also grilled the squash before tossing with the Chimichurri sauce and added a few mint leaves for a variation. This is a wonderful tasting and unique appetizer. Bravo to the cookbook’s authors, the whole “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” cookbook is inspiring.
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