Browned Summer Squash
We love zucchini and yellow "crookneck" squash when they are allowed to brown a bit as they cook. You can easily achieve this on the grill, or if you don't have one, in the broiler. But if it's too hot to use the broiler in the summer, you can get the same browning effect in a skillet, as long as it's not too crowded. Read below to learn how.
4 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Slice the squash into rounds about 1/8-inch thick. Slice them depending on how you will be cooking them: long, lengthwise slices will be easier to handle on a grill, but smaller rounds will be easier to handle in a skillet (either way will work fine in the broiler).
2. If grilling:
- Lay the rounds in a single layer on a large pan and brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them, then turn them over and brush and season the other side.
- Set up your grill for medium-high direct heat and allow it to fully heat up. When hot, brush and oil the grate. (Oiling the grate helps make sure the food won't stick to it. We dip a wad of paper towel in flavorless high-heat oil such as canola, and, wearing oven mitts, use long tongs to brush it against the top of the grate. Careful - if the oil is dripping, the fire may flame up dangerously as you do this! Move quickly and keep your distance to do this safely.)
- When the hot grate has been oiled, use long tongs to place each round on the grill. Don't go anywhere! Watch closely - as each piece begins to brown a bit, turn it over. Each round will brown at its own pace, depending on how directly it sits over the flame and how large it is.
- Keep watching and turning the rounds as needed until they are brown and soft on both sides. Remove them to a serving plate as they are done.
3. Or, if broiling:
- Set up a pan to broil the squash on: a shallow pan such as a broiler pan or a rimmed cookie sheet works best here. We like to line it with aluminum foil to make cleanup easier.
- Make sure the rack is near the broiler and preheat your broiler to high.
- Lay the rounds in a single layer on the foil-lined pan, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over them.
- Slide the pan into the broiler and broil for about 3-5 minutes. Remove when the squash rounds are beginning to brown.
- Turn the squash to the other side and brush with more olive oil. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper and return the pan to the oven.
- Broil for another 2-4 minutes, until the squash medium soft and nicely browned.
4. Or, if cooking in a skillet:
- Put the skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. When hot, add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Allow the oil to heat for a moment, then add the squash to the pan. It should sizzle when it hits the pan (if not, your heat is too low).
- Depending on the size of your pan, you may want to cook the squash in batches. If the pan is too crowded the squash will steam rather than brown.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Use a wooden spatula to toss the squash around in the pan a bit so that it is all equally exposed to the olive oil and the hot surface of the pan. Allow it to sit for a minute or two, so that it browns a bit. Once it has begun to brown on one side, toss it around a bit to allow the other side to brown.
5. Sample a piece of squash and adjust the seasonings if needed. Remove to a serving dish and enjoy.