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.