Every year, I look forward to the start of the new local crops. You know, its mid spring, you’re ready to move from veggies best consumed in soups and casseroles, and really wanting everything fresh and new. The fields have been planted, you can see the harvest slowly maturing, and you’re READY for those fresh veggies in all of their pure simplicity. Here is my version of the squash love cycle:
Phase 1: Gentle Longing
It is close to zucchini season, you see some in the grocery store and figure they must be from somewhere nearby, they are a little dinged up, but you still fork over nearly 2 bucks a pound for them.
Phase 2: The Crush
Those perfect little zucchini and yellow crook neck squash show up at the farm stands. Yes! You simply slice them, toss them on the grill with the rest of your dinner, a little olive oil and kosher salt and you’re in heaven. This is great!
Phase 3: Committed Relationship
Squash shows up as a simple healthy side with many meals. You love the comfortable simplicity of the affair. If you ever need a little variety, something as simple as a little shaved parmesan on top does the trick. Zucchini is generally perfect just as is.
Phase 4: The Friends
Friends and neighbors are all overflowing with summer squash and kindly share with you. How thoughtful. But, really, some days you think there may be too many friends in this relationships. Grilled veggie sandwiches are a good option here.
Phase 5: Ready for a Little Spice
Plain squash is now just so, well, plain. Its time to add a little variety without compromising the integrity of the squash itself. Knowing that everything is better fried, you make fritters. Yum!
Phase 6: The Slow Decline
The squash is still shared, and you hate to just toss it out. Now it becomes a small player in lasagna, casseroles, and the occasional stir fry. You really need to add some extra flavor because the squash is just too boring to go it solo.
Phase 7: The End
The season is finally over, and when you see it in the store, you remind yourself that it was probably shipped from miles and miles away, and since you just cannot be a part of that industrial movement, you bravely pass it by. (This rule doesn’t apply to Swiss chocolate though, for obvious reasons.)