I spotted some lovely yellow patty-pan squash at the Madrona Farmers Market on Friday. They were medium-sized ones, at least a few inches across. Usually I like tiny patty-pan squash –– I like to cut them in half or quarters and quick-sauté them –– but I wanted to try doing something new. And that something was grilled cheese. Or… at least something grilled-cheese-like.
I cut off the tips and sliced each squash into four slices, two larger inside slices and two smaller outside slices. I pre-sautéed them with garlic, roasted them in the oven, spread them with tomato spread, filled them with cheese, and fried them again. Yum.
A warning for devotees of grilled cheese: This recipe doesn’t have the crispiness of a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s something else entirely, a pile of two-bite or three-bite snacks that are a little soft inside, but the softness works with the melty cheese and subtle flavor of summer squash. At a dinner of sandwich-like foods, these got finished before the regular grilled cheese.
Patty-Pan Squash Grilled Cheese
- Patty-pan squash, about 3-4″ across, one or two squash per person
- Melty cheese, like monterey jack
- tomato spread (ratio: 2 T tomato sauce; 1 t olive oil, pinch of salt, a few finely-chopped leaves of basil, a little crushed garlic)
1. Preheat oven to 375. The plan is to sauté the squash and then roast them, but you can actually grill them instead if you prefer, and they’ll be drier.
2. Carefully slice just the other bits of the top and bottom of the squash off; you want enough left that you can make four slices.
3. Slice the squash into four disks, two larger and two smaller. Chop up some garlic.
4. In a skillet, sauté the garlic and squash slices in butter until brown, using a little salt. The garlic is purely for flavor. You can add it into the cheese later if you like. I just snacked on mine; I can’t resist browned garlic.
5. Roast the squash slices for fifteen minutes or so. If you want to help some moisture evaporate, you can put them on a cookie-cooling rack over a baking sheet, but this isn’t necessary.
6. Slice cheese. Prepare pesto or tomato mixture if you like.
7. Take squash slices out of the oven. Match them according to size. Spoon a little pesto or tomato mixture onto each slice, add cheese, and make sandwiches.
8. Fry in butter, turning once. They’re done when they’re nicely browned and hold together well.