If you have a garden, and like me, thought back in the spring that a single little squash plant would be a great thing to plant, then you are also probably finding yourself swamped with more of the little things than you can cook. I’m pulling out about 1-2 per day at this point, and they’re piling up. It’s almost enough to drive me to that age-old trick of slipping them into open windows at the coop parking lot…
Thankfully, Bartolomeo Scappi is here to (literally) spice up our squash:
This 1570 recipe is fairly simple: fry the squash and season with spices. But the resulting concoction is one of the most flavorful presentations of squash I’ve found yet. I’m not a big fan of fennel, or anything especially anise-like, but fennel pollen has been a revelation. It’s a popular ingredient in Scappi, so I decided after the last paycheck to splurge and get some.
I say splurge because the stuff is pricey, but so little of it packs a big amount of flavor that I think it’s probably worth it in the end. Combine it with a little garlic, salt, and vinegar, and you’re in serious business. The squash softens as it cooks, while the almost tempura thin coating on the outside crisps up. I put no more spice on than you see in the photo above, yet the flavors were definitely present. After just one batch, I knew this was a keeper. Give it a go, and tell me what you think!
Scappi’s Fried Squash Recipe
Cook’s/Gardener’s Notes: it turns out that harvesting one’s own fennel pollen isn’t that hard; I’ll be planting some next year for sure. You can also harvest dill pollen, another mega flavor powerhouse!
- 2 Tbs. salt, plus another pinch for sprinkling
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 cup rice flour
- ~1 cup olive oil, for frying
- pinch of fennel pollen
- pinch of garlic powder
Slice the squash into discs about 1/4″ thick. Put these in a large bowl and salt liberally, tossing around to salt both sides of the slices- this will draw out excess moisture from the veggies. After about 15 minutes, press any remaining liquid from the squash. Toss the slices in rice flour until coated. Pour the olive oil into a shallow saucepan and bring up to medium heat. Gently lower the floured squash slices into the hot oil. Let each side fry for around 3-5 minutes, or until a light golden color. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.