We’ve enjoyed curried pattypans. We’ve tolerated them with tarragon and cream (frankly, they’re a touch watery for a sauté). Now, finally, many pounds into the season, we’ve discovered our favorite way to eat these little summer squash space ships! Thanks to the suggestion of Barbara Schutt and the culinary guidance of Julia Child, we blanched, hollowed out, and stuffed pattypans of all sizes (although small to medium taste best). A sprinkle of cheese and half an hour in a hot oven, and voilà!
When I made them, I varied the following recipe a little, using another, smaller zucchini in the stuffing instead of the pattypan cores, mixing in the tomato instead of spreading it on top, and putting in grated Asiago instead of Parmesan cheese. It was equally delicious as a hot supper and, the next day, as a cold lunch. As Julia would say, Bon appétit!
adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II6 zucchini (or pattypans), all of a size, if possible * 1/2 cup diced onions 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 reserved for later 1/2 cup diced green peppers 1 large clove mashed garlic the chopped zucchini cores, or two small zucchinis 1/3 cup plain, raw, white, untreated, long grain rice 1 egg 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, plus 3 tablespoons reserved for later 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley salt and pepper 3 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced, and chopped * 1) Prepared the zucchini for stuffing. Trim and scrub the zucchini; blanch about 10 minutes in boiling salted water, just until flesh yields to pressure. Drain in colander. When cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. Using a grapefruit (or other serrated) knife, hollow out cores of each zucchini half, to make a boat-shaped case with the sides and bottom about 3/8 inch thick. Salt and drain hollow side down on paper towels. Chop the removed zucchini flesh, squeeze out vegetables water in paper towels, and reserve flesh for stuffing. If using pattypans, remove stem and little cap of flesh around it, then scoop out insides and seeds and drain, hollow side down, on paper towels. 2) Stir the onions into the oil in a medium-sized (10-inch) frying pan, cover, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes until tender. Uncover, raise heat and brown very lightly, stirring, then add the green peppers, garlic, and zucchini cores. Cover and cook slowly for several minutes more until peppers are tender. Turn into mixing bowl. 3) Meanwhile, in a pan of boiling salted water, boil the rice for exactly 10 minutes, drain, and add to mixing bowl. Beat in egg, then the cheese and parsley. Season carefully with salt and pepper. 4) Mound the stuffing in the blanched and hollowed-out zucchini halves. Season tomato pulp with salt and pepper, spread over the stuffing, cover with the remaining cheese, and sprinkle on the remaining olive oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in upper third of preheated 425 degree oven until bubbling hot and cheese topping has browned lightly.