I grew up in the kind of family who knew that, come summer, you better have an arsenal of recipes at hand for using up squash. Louise and I were packed off for a few weeks each year to my grandma and grandpa’s farm in Indiana, and I have vivid memories of heading off on August Sundays loaded down with a brown paper bag of zucchini in each arm for some unsuspecting church-goer. In retrospect, it was a brilliant idea: make little kids give it away, and no one can turn down the ‘gift’.
This frittata isn’t going to win any beauty contests—and with a hungry Louise waiting to dig in, I didn’t spend time trying to gussy it up for photos—but it’s a nice alternative to exploiting innocent children to use up your influx of squash. Grating summer squash renders it simple to incorporate into a variety of recipes, and I often stir sautéed squash into risottos and pasta sauces. The yellow squash in this frittata lends some nutty heft to one of my favorite easy meals, and goat cheese and basil dress it up for brunch or dinner.
A quick boring technical note—I used to make my frittatas by sautéing all the ingredients (besides the eggs), adding in the beaten eggs, giving it a quick stir, and then baking it in the oven. They turn out much better using my current technique, though, where everything is sautéed as usual, but when the beaten eggs are added, the entire mixture is cooked “low and slow” like scrambled eggs until it has set up a bit. Then, the entire skillet is broiled until lightly browned on the top.
Summer squash & basil frittata
You will need
- 2-3 small yellow summer squashes
6-8 large eggs
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
The leaves from several sprigs of basil, chopped, plus some reserved for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
- Slice the squashes in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. If the squash is very mature, you may want to skin it, but mine were young enough that I just left the skins on. Using the biggest holes on a box grated, shred the squash until you have about two and a half cups of grated squash. Transfer the grated squash to a colander in the sink, and lightly toss it with a little kosher salt to help “sweat” out some of the water. Let the squash drain for 20 minutes or longer, pressing every once in awhile to drain the water.
While the squash is draining, beat the eggs in a bowl, adding a few pinches of salt and pepper. Crumble the goat cheese into the eggs.
In a thick-bottomed, ovenproof 10- to 12-inch skillet (smaller skillet = thicker frittata and vice versa), heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until transparent and aromatic, 3-5 minutes. Use a clean tea towel to press any excess moisture out of the grated squash, and add the squash to the skillet, sauteing until tender, about ten minutes.
If the squash seems to have soaked up much of the oil, add another tablespoon. Lower the heat of the stove, and stir in the beaten egg mixture. Stir in the chopped basil. Cook the mixture as if it were scrambled eggs for awhile, scraping the bottom of the pan as the eggs form small curds. When the mixture is still quite wet but has thickened substantially from the curds of eggs forming, remove from the stovetop and transfer to the oven under a broiled on high, about 6 inches from the broiler. Cook until lightly browned on top, 5-10 minutes.
Tear basil and scatter across the top. Allow frittata to rest for 10 minutes before serving, as this prevents sticking to the skillet. Salt and pepper to taste.