16 August 2008

Stalking Summer

Sometimes I feel like I'm stalking summer, never quite catching up. Only realizing the season's here when it screams it's heat at me, arriving at the market each week to find cherries slipping out of season, followed by apricots, okra, and even precious summer corn has its days numbered. It seems each week some produce bears the sign "last chance for the season," why didn't anyone tell me? Only when the shadows get a little longer, the sunsets a little earlier, do I realize summer won't last forever.

I like to go for walks on weeknights after dinner, Capitol Hill has small front yards but its residents do a lot with them. You can tell a lot about someone by their garden: tight perfectly mounded boxwoods, loosely flowing grasses, the people who grow tomatoes on the sidewalk by the curb. On summer nights, with the windows open, you can hear the soft clatter of forks against plates, the clink of glasses, the laughter of children as they splash in the bath. When it gets cold the windows will be shut and the light darker and my walks will be different.

But I'm getting ahead of myself because summer's not over yet, and I'm sure August will throw a few blazing days our way so we don't forget it. The little yellow squash I keep buying in the market remind me of my mother- I always preferred zucchini, while my mother, being Southern, loves yellow squash. These tiny squash are gorgeous, they're firm and don't have the flaccid quality that I dislike in some yellow squash, and I've been eating them chopped and sauteed, thinly sliced raw, and roasted whole. I spotted a recipe, by the immitable Dan Barber, for whole baby squash battered and fried with a sesame seed coating. One night I decided to treat my squash the same, working from memory and improvisation. They were wonderful, like a sesame-crunched squash french fry, but lighter and crunchier and delicious. A little chance to catch up with summer.

Sesame-Fried Yellow Squash
For an even more indulgent version, try wrapping the squash in bacon before dredging and frying it. The smallest squash are the best as they cook through quickly. Inspired by Dan Barber/Gourmet.

baby yellow squash or zucchini
1/2 cup flour with a pinch of salt and red pepper added
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sesame seeds
oil for frying

1. Place about 3 inches of oil in a deep pot and bring to 350F for frying. Meanwhile, place flour, egg, and sesame seeds in 3 shallow bowls.
2. Dredge squash in flour (shaking off excess), then in egg, then in sesame seeds to coat. Fry squash in batches until golden an crisp about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels, serve immediately.


Anonymous said...

I thought when I saw that first shot, then skimmed down to the word "apricot" and others, that I was seeing a picture of two-toned mold! (I think you should either put your recipe right below that first shot, or show the veggies first, then the cooked...

Just a friendly suggestion.

Sara said...

Oh my goodness, this looks ridiculously delicious. I have to try this before those gorgeous yellow summer squash go out of season.

I share your sentiments about stalking summer too. I'm constantly working on living in the now and not being anxious about the approaching end of summer or anything. :-)

Rita said...

I saw this recipe on Gourmet and was wondering if it could be done in a vegetarian way. It looks like you solved the quest!
They look great.

Y said...

A beautiful way to celebrate Summer. Do you serve these with some sort of special dipping sauce?

lubnakarim06 said...

Awesome blog and yummy recipes. First time here. I love your blog.

Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

i really understand what you mean about stalking summer, only i seem to do it with every season. it takes me a while to get into the new temperature and get excited about the ingredients. whenever i do the season is over and the produce is gone!

it makes it even harder when most bloggers are in the opposite hemisphere to me: i crave granita in winter and hearty stews in summer.

Laura Paterson said...

This looks beautiful - I have never seen these babies around about here though!

One of the things I love and hate about food blogging is that it makes me realise how much more there is out there!!