Market Matters- Grilled Summer Squash with Purple Basil Salad

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Purple Basil & Grilled Summer Squash Salad with Walnuts. Can squash be art?

Is zucchini life…

One is a question, the other a metaphor.

But, here I am (was, it is all so existential) walking through the Hollywood Farmers Market looking for inspiration for this week’s Market Matters. Then just ahead, past the nectarines and next to the fresh basil I see a golden glow. Or I think I do… What can that golden glow be I wonder? So I push my way through the crowd as in a dream when your feet seemed to be stuck in glue. I see the glow, I am almost there. But the crowd, the crowd is in my way. Why do they always put the “free” samples right in front of the golden glow? And why are people so enamored of free samples?

I push ahead towards the light. The crowd around me pushes back. They think I am in line to taste a strawberry sample, so see me as competition. But no, I am drawn towards the light.

The lovely golden light. The light that speaks of harps and angels.

Is this my moment? Is this the end?

Should I head TOWARDS THE LIGHT?

Oh… but, I’m too young to die. I have too much living to do. Too much to say. Too much to taste. Too many places to go.

But the light. The light! I must get to the light… I wish this woman, who is licking each strawberry clean before feeding it to her toddler, would just get a move on. The light is calling me!

The pull of that golden light is too strong. I am resigned. Wherever the light takes me. I shall follow. But wait, THANK GOODNESS!!!

The light us the golden glow of yellow summer squash. It’s finally available at the Hollywood Farmers Market this week. I have been expecting it. Is it early? Is it a conspiracy?

Whatever it is, it wants me to create a salad using golden yellow summer squash. It has spoken and I have heard the word. GREG

Purple Basil & Grilled Summer Squash Salad with Walnuts

serves 4 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 1/2 c shelled walnuts
  • 1 3/4 lb summer squash
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 pn each kosher salt & black pepper
  • 1 t balsamic vinegar
  • 1 c clean and roughly torn, loosely packed squash blossoms
  • 1 c mixed green and purple basil leaves
  • 3 oz parmesan cheese, very thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 t walnut oil

Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Spread the walnuts onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until nicely browned, about 12 minutes. Chop the nuts roughly.

Trim the ends of the summer squash and cut them on an angle into 3/8-inch-thick slices. Place them in a bowl and toss with half the olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Set a grill pan over medium-high heat. Allow it to get hot to the point that you cannot hold only your hand above the surface more than 3 seconds. Working in batches, lay the slices of summer squash in a single layer onto the grill pan and cook until nicely marked, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer the squash to a medium bowl as they cook. Once they are all grilled, pour over the balsamic vinegar, toss together and set aside to cool.

Once completely cool add the remaining olive oil, squash blossoms, basil and walnuts. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the salad to a serving plate, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (if using) and drizzle of walnut oil.

Source: Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.

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  • Look for Greg’s book Savory Pies coming Nov 2012, from Ulysses Press