Thursday, August 09, 2007

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte

I recently harvested my first squash of the season, so made this recipe again. I found it on a few years ago when I was trying to figure out what to do with my squash. I like it because it's easy: no precooking required, just peel, assemble, and bake.

As originally written, the torte was made in two 8" cake pans. I make it in my 2 quart (or is it 3 quart?) round casserole dish, using the same amounts of the ingredients. This time, I used 3 or 4 (sorry, I wasn't counting) medium-sized potatoes and one pattypan squash about 4-5" in diameter. The recipe calls for yellow crookneck squash, but probably any kind of summer squash would work - maybe even zucchini? The squash doesn't need to be peeled if it's still young and tender. If it does need to be peeled, it's probably too tough to eat anyway.

Much of the flavor comes from the Parmesan cheese, so it would best to get some that's fairly good. The numerous Italians around here would probably insist on authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, but I don't go quite that far. I do buy the kind that comes pregrated in plastic tubs in the deli department.

The pepper is also a major flavor component, and you might want to cut back from what's stated in the recipe, as that amount gives a pretty peppery result.

Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper!

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte with Parmesan

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-in-thick rounds
12 ounces squash, cut into 1/8-in-thick slices
3 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a casserole dish. Toss green onions, cheese, flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in medium bowl to blend.

Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom of the dish. Layer 1/2 of the squash over the potatoes. Drizzle with 1 tsp oil. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat with 1/3 of the potatoes and 1/2 of the squash and 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Top with the rest of the potatoes. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture and press gently to flatten.

Cover pan with foil. Bake until potatoes are almost tender, about 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until cheese begins to brown and potatoes are tender, about 25-35 minutes longer. Cut into wedges and serve.

Recycle: oil bottle

Compost: potato peelings, onion stalks, thyme stalks

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