Saturday, September 12, 2009

Little Bitty Pretty Ones: Yellow Crooknecks


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I have a good excuse for my silence last week: I had the dreaded flu. Rumors of its “mildness” are misleading. If you are a young adult, the majority of expected cases, it is true. But based on what we are seeing with faculty, physicians, and others being exposed to those mild cases and for whom the adjective “young” must be dropped, it can be brutal. Delirious for nearly three days, unable to sit up, eat, or stay awake more than an hour at a time, I lost 5 pounds in 5 days, and am left with a secondary bronchial infection. And I was being treated.

So when my appetite slowly started to return, there was little that appealed to me. A bit of fruit, some plain yogurt. Solid food? No way. Back at work, I passed by the Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the office, unheard of for me, who usually takes two. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever want to eat anything solid again, and went to the farmers’ market to look around and see if anything called, “eat me!” Surprisingly, it was these little squash. I don’t like squash. I mean, I can eat it, but almost never buy it except for a few specific purposes. But they were so cute! And sunny! They looked like I wished I felt; grateful for the hopefulness they embodied, I bought them.

Of course, the fact that these squash are a good source of iron, vitamin C, and numerous other vitamins and minerals may have been an intuitive attraction. But really, their smooth yellow skins and perky stem ends are what won me over. They looked appetizing, and I knew they would be a good, plain, easy thing to eat. Feeling confident that my appetite was returning, I also bought some nice pastured chicken. Simply grilled, they both went down just fine.

Grilled Yellow Crookneck Squash

Buy the smallest ones you can find. With summer late this year, these fast-growing squash have offered a second chance for farmers. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

yellow crooknecks, as many as you need
olive oil
snipped basil
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Leave the little squash whole; if you can only find larger ones, split them in half lengthwise. Brush the squash with olive oil and put them on a medium-hot grill (put split ones split-side down), turning them from time to time with a pair of tongs. Cook little ones for about 5 minutes, until they are slightly blackened here and there and a sharp knife enters and releases easily from the bulbous end; do not overcook. Remove to a bowl and toss with salt, pepper, basil, and a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice.




racheld said...

I'm so sorry for your illness---flu CAN be brutal, and we SO hope to avoid it for another year.

Your little squash have lovely, twinkly personalities, and I see why you chose them for a first meal, even though the genre is not of your favorites.

This sounds like a lovely recipe, all those garden flavors together, though I've never tried the whole-grilling---we have them often, with a little slick of oil before the split-side-down grilling, then a scatter of seasalt as they come off the fire.

One of our favorite dinners is a whole chicken from the grill, with a last-minute addition of tiny squash and zucchini on the platter, pretty just like yours.

PS: Are you back to Krispy Kreme yet?

Jane said...

Hi Rachel:
Thank you, and thank you for sharing your own affinity to the combination of grilled chicken and squash. They are a pretty pair.

No doughnuts yet...although I am thinking about poundcake....Stay well.

Lulu Torbet said...

hi sis--

i sent you an email you this afternoon and it was bounced back, so i need your email address. sorry to hear you got whacked by the flu, but it made for an especially nice column. here in the land of the aporkalypse we have not yet had a case in the state of guanajuato, but they expect a rebound of h1n1 this fall. take good care xo lol