In my last post, I mentioned the Cooking Away my CSA group. The information shared by this group will reveal what’s offered in different areas at different points in the season, and it’s great for getting ideas about how to use the vegetables we receive. When I receive a lot of one vegetable and need ideas, I reach for Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. I go straight to the index, look up whatever that vegetable is, and find several options influenced by different cooking styles from around the world. Here in Austin, it’s already that zucchini time of year. I’ve received zucchini and yellow squash in my last couple of CSA pick-ups, and last week, there was also a big, pretty pattypan squash. I find pattypans are a little firmer or maybe thicker-skinned than other summer squashes, but I tend to use them as I do zucchini. So, when I looked up zucchini in the World Vegetarian index, I found Tuscan zucchini pie and decided it would be just as good with pattypan squash.
In making this pie, I went rogue with a few of the details. Obviously, I made a substitution for the main ingredient. I also added some red bell pepper because I had some that needed to be used, and I thought it would look as nice as it would taste. And, even though the ingredients were supposed to have been split between two eight-inch pans, I piled them all into one 12-inch tart pan. A custard was made from eggs, flour, milk, and water. To that, minced garlic, sliced scallions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg were added. In the introduction to the recipe, there’s a suggestion about adding some grated parmigiano reggiano if you’d like. Of course, I’d like, so I most certainly added the cheese. The sliced squash and bell pepper were arranged in the tart pan in two layers, and the custard was poured over top. I reserved a little grated parmigiano to sprinkle on top, and then drizzled on olive oil before baking.
To serve, a second drizzle of olive oil was suggested for each piece, but I used leftover basil oil instead. Although this is a custard pie, it’s not heavy at all and the vegetables are the main attraction here. The custard served to just barely bind the sliced squash into a cohesive whole. The scallions and garlic added great flavor, and in my opinion, the parmigiano should have been included in the recipe rather than mentioned as an option. This was a nice dinner with salad and garlic toast on the side, but it would work well for brunch too. The amount of custard could be easily scaled up, and several other vegetable combinations come to mind that might be used here. It’s essentially a crust-less quiche, but with these particular vegetables, and just a few tablespoons of grated cheese, it was a perfectly light, summery meal.