Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grandma Dorothy's Fried Squash

I promised that I'd post the recipe for my grandma's fried squash while I was showing off the mystery squash, and I finally got around to making it tonight. This was absolutely the only way I'd ever eat squash as a child. It may not be the healthiest method, but I don't mind making it for a treat once in awhile. You'll have to forgive the dreadful food photography. That is something I have yet to master. The recipe is as follows:

2-3 small summer squash, sliced into 1/4in. rounds (you can substitute zucchini if you'd like)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour (plus more, just in case)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon (or your favorite seasoning/herb)
enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan thickly

First, slice your squash. 1/4in. is an approximation, of course. Just use your best judgement. You're frying these in a batter that will cook much faster than the squash itself, so they need to be thin enough that they'll be softened during the frying process but not so thin that they're difficult to handle or they get mushy from overcooking. Uniformity is the key.

Combine the eggs (slightly beaten beforehand), milk, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. I use a fork to beat mine together because my kitchen is woefully devoid of "tools", but you can use whatever works for you. This batter is your only chance to add flavor, so feel free to experiment with your favorite spices. I am completely in love with cinnamon for those crisp autumn days where you want something to warm you up, but during the summer, I often omit it and use anise or something that feels a bit more cooling to me. While you're doing the mixing, you can put your oil on to heat up. Test the oil for readiness by letting a drop of batter fall into the oil. If the batter sizzles a bit, your oil is ready.

Next, dip each slice of squash into the batter and drop it into the pan. I always do one test slice first to make sure that the batter has sufficient flour to adhere to the squash. If it's too runny, I add flour a tablespoon at a time until the consistency seems right. I've seen some people who make this dish let the excess batter drip off of each piece of squash, but that's not how Grandma did it, and it's not how I do it! I dunk and cook immediately. Be sure to add only enough squash to the pan that you have a single layer. If they're all crammed into the pan, they'll stick together and make flipping difficult.

Fry the squash until brown on one side, then flip and let the other side brown. You don't want these to be a nice golden color. You want BROWN. Otherwise, your squash will still be crunchy. I don't like mine floppy and mushy, but I want them to be just soft enough to chew without trouble. When they're done, they should look like this:

Serve immediately. In fact, the babies you see in the picture were devoured right out of the pan, despite my scalding mouth. Mmmmmm...



Brittney said...

Oh those look tasty! I'm not a big squash fan, but I think I could eat a fair share of those :) said...

I'll definitely have to test this one out :)

Mist said...

Thanks to both of you for the comments! I hope you enjoy your squash. :)