Sunday, May 19, 2013
By Brooke Dojny
We can still live on farmers market or garden vegetables for another month, right? Just add a salad and some good country bread and you've got a meal – but you're a nonvegetarian, just add a bit of meat – grilled sausages are one of my favorite forms of summer protein. Nothing better!
MIXED SUMMER SQUASH CUSTARD CASSEROLE
I like to make this casserole with a mix of thin-skinned summer squash but since they all taste pretty much alike, use whatever is available. Feta cheese adds just enough of a complementary tang to lift the casserole from the plain to the sublime.
1½ pounds summer squash – any one type or a mixture of zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan – sliced about 1/4-inch thick (6 to 8 cups)
1¼ cups shredded medium-sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Paprika for dusting top
Butter a 2- to 2½-quart shallow baking dish, such as a 9-by-9-inch glass baking dish.
Blanch the squash in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain into a colander. In the prepared baking dish, combine squash with the cheeses and toss gently to mix.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with milk, mustard, salt and pepper. (The two elements of the casserole can be made ahead and refrigerated, separately, for up to 6 hours.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour egg mixture evenly over the squash and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Place baking dish in a larger pan and fill the larger pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake uncovered until the custard is set when a small knife inserted three-quarters of the way to the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm, directly from the baking dish.
SCALLOPED FARMSTAND TOMATOES
This wonderful scalloped tomato dish with a baked bread crumb crust is adapted from a "receipt" in an old community cookbook. The old version used bacon fat, which would indeed taste powerfully good, but because it's no longer the kitchen staple it once was, I've called for butter or oil.
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups panko crumbs or fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs – basil, thyme or marjoram
½ teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
6 large tomatoes, cored, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet, heat the butter or oil. Add garlic and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add crumbs, the herbs, and the ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until crumbs are one shade darker, about 4 minutes. Spread about half the crumb mixture out in a shallow 2-quart baking dish such as a 9-by-11 dish and press down firmly to make an even "crust." Bake in the preheated oven until deep golden, about 10 minutes. (The crust can be baked a couple of hours ahead and held, loosely covered, at cool room temperature.)
Arrange a layer of sliced tomatoes over the crust and sprinkle with more bread crumbs. Repeat until the tomatoes are used up, finishing with a top layer of bread crumbs. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.
Return baking dish to the oven and bake uncovered until the tomatoes just begin to soften and the juices have started to run and the crumbs are golden, about 20 minutes.
Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently "Lobster!" (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at: facebook.com/brookedojny