Two new cookbooks take us south of the Mason-Dixon. “The New Southern Table” by Brys Stephens ($21.95) uses traditional Southern ingredients with French, Mediterranean, Asian and Latin techniques. A classic Southern squash dish, for example, is lightened and refreshed with a taste of Provence (see recipe below).
“The Southern Slow Cooker Bible” by Tammy Algood ($24.99) is a down-home primer with 365 recipes and ways to convert your favorites to crock-pot style.
Summer squash and herb gratin
- 3 pounds zucchini, yellow squash, or a combination
- 2 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cut the squash into 1/4-inch thick rounds, then cut the rounds in half. Place the squash in a colander and generously season with the 2 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt to draw the excess moisture away from the squash.
This is more salt than you would normally season them with for eating. Some of the salt will penetrate, but some will be rinsed off.
Let sit 20 minutes, rinse with cold water, then thoroughly dry with a kitchen towel.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in medium-size skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, swirl the pan for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is lightly browned.
Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are browned. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in ¼ cup of the Parmesan.
Heat the olive oil and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the squash and garlic and cook, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the squash is tender and brown in spots.
Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan, the red pepper flakes, marjoram, rosemary, and parsley, and season to taste with black pepper.
Transfer the squash to a shallow gratin dish, top with the Parmesan and breadcrumb mixture, and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Makes 6 servings.
Source: “The New Southern Table” (Quarry Books)