Whether you get your summer squash from your own garden, the farmers market, or you local grocery store, there is always plenty, and plenty of recipes for ways to use it. When I was growing up, my favorite way to eat it was fried. Mother sliced yellow squash, put it in a bowl with a handful of cornmeal and some chopped onions to coat and fried it, usually in bacon grease. We also had it boiled down to limpness, also flavored with a little bacon fat. For me in those years, squash was yellow and crookneck. Now we grow it and find it many places and many varieties – yellow crookneck, zucchini (straight and ball), calabacita, white pattypan -ranging from dark green to bright yellow, long to stubby, smooth to lumpy to ridged. Although they vary a little in texture and flavor, they all have thin skins and most adapt to being steamed, fried, grilled or stuffed. But a classic dish, one that is a favorite for church potlucks, is squash casserole. There are hundreds of recipes. My favorite of all that I have tried has the fewest ingredients and is simplest to make.
I am a fan of Jan Karon’s Mitford series books and even have her cookbook, Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader, which has recipes along with stories to link with characters in the books. The recipe I adapted to make my Summer Squash casserole comes from one called Puny’s Squash Casserole, named for the feisty, hardworking house helper who cooks for the series’ principal character, Father Tim Kavanaugh. It is the kind of recipe you look for when you need to keep it simple! I have used zucchini and calabacita squash in the dish with equal success.
Summer Squash Casserole
6-8 medium yellow squash, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup crushed potato chips or corn flakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray. Steam squash and onions until tender. Pour into large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add butter and stir to melt butter. In a small bowl, combine eggs to cheese, salt and pepper, then add to squash mixture. Pour into baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes then add topping of crushed chips or corn flakes. Bake another 10-15 minutes, until topping begins to brown.