Happy Memorial Day everyone! Don’t forget to have fun and honor all of those men and women who have served and protected. One way to do that is to cook for them. Who doesn’t love a great holiday weekend bbq? More than the meat on the grill, a successful bbq owes everything to the side dishes on the table. Summer squash is starting to look oh so perfect, so use it more often! I’m pretty sure Amir has never met Daphne, although we all attended UNC-Chapel Hill at the same time. It’s a shame because she’s hilarious, intelligent and over the last few years, I’ve discovered we share a mutual interest in food. When’s she’s not working, writing or traveling, Daphne finds time to cook. In July, she’ll teach a Skillshare vegetarian cooking class, so if you want more than this recipe, sign up! For now, she’s serving up Southern squash.
When I moved to New York, I missed many things about the South–the warm weather, the beach, the pickle aisle at the grocery store. But one of the things I missed the most was casseroles. Green bean, asparagus, grits, pineapple (that’s right, pineapple), Southerners always have found delicious ways to prepare vegetables and meats in a 9X12 pan. But while I have yet to find macaroni and cheese in the city that is as delicious as my granny’s, I’m also not about to cook a giant chafing dish size of something I’ll be eating every night for a week. That’s how over the years I’ve come to experiment with my favorite casserole recipes from home, making dishes that yield smaller portions and are often healthier than the original (but just as tasty).
Squash casserole happens to be one of my favorite things to eat but the recipe I grew up with is very rich and makes enough to feed half the church after Sunday service. This recipe makes four portions and uses lowfat milk instead of heavy cream, incorporates goat cheese in lieu of some of the cheddar, and panko instead of buttery Ritz crackers. I wouldn’t tell my mom, but I actually prefer this version to the original.
South Carolina Squash Casserole – Serves 8 to 10
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise and quartered
1/2 Vidalia onion, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/3 cup 2% milk (Whole milk is fine too. Just don’t use skim milk.)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
Black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil and butter on medium high in pan. Add vegetables and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Add wine and lower heat to medium. Cover pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until wine has completely reduced. If you are grating your own cheese, complete this step while the squash and onions are cooking.
3. Turn off the heat and roughly mash the vegetables with a potato masher or the back of a fork (You do not need to pulverize it. Just break up the mixture a bit). Place vegetables in a medium size bowl. Add cheeses, milk, and 1/3 cup panko. Stir until all the cheese and ingredients are incorporated.
4. Spoon mixture into four ramekins. Sprinkle evenly with last 1/4 cup of panko. Grind black pepper, to taste, on top of each ramekin. Place the ramekins onto a baking sheet. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
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