Monday, August 13, 2012

Parmesan-Crusted Summer Squash

I picked this Jean-Georges recipe for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, I just had a great meal at ABC Kitchen recently so it inspired me to get the cookbook out again.  I know I posted a little about ABC Kitchen not too long ago and said it was disappointing, but I have come to the conclusion that the restaurant is just inconsistent.  Although the service is consistently slow.  Our first meal there was good, but not great.  And it was expensive enough that it really should have been great.  But the lunch I had there recently was delicious so I wanted to see if the cookbook had any of the recipes for the dishes we had at lunch.  For the record, it has variations on some of the recipes (or what I assume are the recipes that we were served), but not all.  Secondly (and this is definitely more important than the first reason, although my meal at ABC Kitchen was the inspiration for my pulling out he cookbook in the first place) I thought the description Jean-Georges provides in the little blurb above the recipe of the squash as having an almost "fluffy texture" sounded really interesting.  I love squash but it does often feel heavy and soggy when you cook it.  And lastly, it looked really simple to make (which is a refreshing change from some of the recipes we make) and it used a novel roasting technique to cook the summer squash.  

So I bookmarked the recipe and ran over to the farmers' market and bought some cute little squash.  When we made the squash my reasons for making it totally panned out - the texture was really light and fluffy (which I thought was awesome) due to the way Jean-Georges roasts it on a wire rack and it was totally easy to make.  But it was missing something.  Alex and I both thought that some sort of fresh herb would be a nice addition to the recipe (I suggested fresh thyme).  The squash just needed something else, another layer of flavor to play off the salty Parm-Reg and the grassy evoo, to really make it shine.  The lemon juice helped, but it still left me wanting more.  So I think we will make this again (and maybe try this cooking technique with zucchini as well) and test out a few different fresh herbs or spices to see what works best.  So the recipe was not a resounding success, but it has serious potential to become one.  I'm going to play with it a bit more and see what happens, but I'm thinking a little fresh thyme would make this dish a total winner.

Recipe after the jump!

Parmesan-Crusted Summer Squash
My Favorite Simple Recipes: Home Cooking with Jean-Georges
By Jean-Georges Vongerichten

4 small yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut at a slight angle into 1 1/2-inch pices
2 tbsp evoo, plus more to taste
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more as needed
lemon wedges
fleur de sel or other coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large bowl, gently toss the squash, oil and salt until the squash is evenly coated.  Arrange the squash in a single layer on the rack, spacing the pieces at least 1/2-inch apart.  Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the squash - each piece should have a generous coating.

Roast until the cheese is golden brown and the edges of the quash are also golden brown, about 16-18 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the squash cool on the rack for 10 minutes.

Use a spatula to transfer the squash to a serving dish.  Squeeze lemon juice over the top, then drizzle with additional evoo.  Season with fleur de sel (if necessary - we thought the squash was already salty enough so you might want to taste it first) and pepper.  

Serve immediately.

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