Plant diversity means increased chances climate tolerance and disease resistance, (sometimes) extra nutrition, and lots of delicious things to taste. But I forgot to say one thing about those abundant varieties, which is that they sometimes look really cool.
Take summer squash. You know about zucchini and yellow squash and patty pan. But have you ever tried tromboncino? Italian for “little trombone,” these guys, a curved-neck, slender, pale green squash, often reveal a remarkable flower pattern when you cut open the wide end:
Pretty, isn’t it? They’re also really sweet, but not sugary sweet, and flavorful. And we’ve entered the time of year when summer squash is abundant, so I’m sharing one of my favorite, simple ways to eat them.
Yes, even the stunted plants that were unhappy about a long, cold June are finally producing. Squash the size of baseball bats, squash the size of tiny slugs, all sizes and sorts of summer squash demand, “Okay, you grew/bought me. Now what?” Marge Piercy had some suggestions in her famous poem Attack of the Squash People, but I’ve got another:
We don’t often think of squash for breakfast. It’s a dinner food, a lunch food, a sautéed on the side food. But squash for breakfast is marvelous. It cooks very quickly, and has a sweetness that is brought out when paired with breakfast sausage or, as in this dish, with eggs and a slightly bitter goat cheese. Add some ripe tomatoes and you have a delicious, colorful breaakfast that takes about five minutes to prepare. Fast enough for a weekday, delicious enough for a weekend, and impressive enough to share.
One of many nice things about this dish: The squash can be used to sop up the extra egg yolk in place of bread. The flavors are also really well balanced — a bite of tomato makes you want more cheese, a bite of cheese makes you want more squash, the squash goes well with a bite of egg…
If you don’t have tromboncino, this also works well with very young yellow squash. You do want the small summer squashes for this dish, though. Save the big ones for ratatouille or stew or something like that.
Tromboncino Summer Squash with Eggs, Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
1-2 squashes per person, depending on size
2 eggs per person
1-2 very ripe summer tomatoes per person
a few crumbles/slices of goat cheese per person, preferably soft-ripened, but fresh chevre will work too
Butter and olive oil, salt and pepper
1. Slice squash into pieces about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick
2. Heat a bit of butter and olive oil in a frying pan that has a lid. Add squash. Sauté until soft. Add a little more butter.
3. Crack eggs over squash. Let cook about 30 seconds to 1 min.
4. Add a spoonful or two of water, and then cover with the lid until the egg whites are cooked but the yolks are still soft. Transfer immediately to a plate.
5. Slice tomato on top in wedges. Crumble on cheese. Add pepper. You can also drizzle on a little olive oil.