By late summer, you might need a particularly tempting recipe to cook zucchini and yellow squash one more time. Chef Jason Cheek of the South End restaurant Merrill & Co. offers just the right inspiration. To tease more flavor from “one dimensional” squash, he tosses bite-size chunks, rounds, and half-moons (“different cuts for different textures,” he says) with za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that includes dried thyme, toasted sesame seeds, and ground sumac, and roasts the squash at a high temperature to brown and caramelize it. Pieces are tossed with fresh mint and chopped peanuts, which the North Carolina native prefers to other nuts. “They have that buttery, round flavor,” says Cheek. A bed of Greek yogurt seasoned with dill adds a contrasting cool creaminess to the roasted squash.
|Olive oil (for sprinkling)|
|8||ounces Greek yogurt|
|3||tablespoons chopped fresh dill|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|2||medium summer squash|
|3||tablespoons olive oil|
|12||fresh mint leaves, torn
|½||cup salted roasted
|Juice of ½ lemon|
1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Sprinkle a large rimmed baking sheet with oil.
2. In a food processor, combine the yogurt, dill, salt, and pepper. Work until smooth. Or mix the ingredients by hand; using more chopped dill. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like; refrigerate.
3. Cut the zucchini and summer squash into varying bite-size pieces, such as 1½-inch chunks cut on a diagonal, and thick rounds and half-moons. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of the oil, za’atar, salt, and pepper.
4. Place the baking sheet in the oven to heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully remove the sheet from the oven. Add the squash, spreading it in a single layer. Return the sheet to the oven. Roast the squash for 10 minutes. With a flat metal spatula, turn the squash over, and continue cooking for 6 to 10 minutes or until firm-tender and golden in spots.
5. Tip the squash back into the large bowl and gently stir in the mint, all but 2 tablespoons of the peanuts, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.
6. On a serving dish, spread the dill yogurt. Place the squash on top and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts. Lisa Zwirn. Adapted from Merrill & Co.