Summer is finally in full swing. The greens of spring are starting to wilt under the heat of the sun's rays, making way for the bright gems of summer: ruby red beets, orange garnet carrots, and citrine yellow summer squash. Especially the squash.
As a gardener, I was already familiar with the perennial problem: what to do with all of that summer squash? Now I’m learning it’s also a stumper for greenmarket shoppers and CSA subscribers. Our CSA is already in its fourth straight week of sacks of squash, and there’s no sign of this squash storm abating.
But, it turns out, this is a good “problem” to have, especially when you’re inundated with early season, young fruit; with its thin skin, tender flesh, delicate texture, and divine flavor, it barely needs any work at all.
So before you go grating it into zucchini bread, smothering it in gratins, stuffing it into canning jars, or pawning it off on your friends -- all perfectly acceptable options, but patience please -- try this first: shave squash (the prettiest ones you have) into thin ribbons, toss them gently with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and some fresh thyme. (I used lemon thyme I had growing in my windowsill herb garden—my all-thyme favorite because of its delicate, lemony flavor). Then forget about the squash for a little while as they bathe in that seductively simple marinade.
When you’re ready to eat, arrange the ribbons on a plate with a few beads of fresh cheese (I used cow’s milk with herbes de Provence), hidden among the folds. If you have access to a garden (or gardener), or if, like me, you can't resist splurging on a few squash blossoms at the greenmarket (I’m such a sucker!), you could layer in a few pretty petals, too.
Who knows? You might just like this salad so much, you won’t end up with a surplus of summer squash this season. But if you’ve got a garden plot or a CSA, chances are, there will still be plenty of squash to give away.
Shaved summer squash salad
4 summer squash, on the smaller side
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 oz fresh cheese, shaped loosely into small beads
- Shave squash into ribbons with a mandolin (about 1/4" thick).
- Toss squash ribbons with olive oil, lemon juice, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for a half hour or until soft and chilled.
- Adjust seasoning as needed.
- Arrange squash ribbons on plates; hide cheese among the folds; drizzle a little extra olive oil, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice, sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on top.
Suggested drink pairings
Wine: sauvignon blanc, grenache blanc, vermentino
Other dishes with this CSA Box
- Red leaf lettuce salad with spelt (leftover from last week), roasted kohlrabi, and pickled radish (also leftover from last week)
- Beets and their greens with za’atar and yogurt sauce
- Chard, scallion, and chickpea stew w/amazing merguez sausage (made by our friend and chef Trevor Smith)
- Quickled fennel
- Started a batch of sauerkraut with our two heads of green cabbage (one from last week + one from this week]
- The cucumbers are starting to pile up now...(uh oh!).