The pattypan squash, also known as scallop, sunburst, granny, flying saucer, and Peter Pan, is a summer season delight. Many people however do not know what to do with this summer squash that resembles a scalloped flying saucer.
Summer squash is not actually a vegetable. Summer squash is technically a “pepo”, a type of hard-walled berry that fall within the squash family. Summer squash are one of the oldest known crops. Squash of all types have been a staple for the Native Americas for more than 500 years. Known as one of the three sisters, they were planted with corn and beans in one mound with the squash plant keeping available moisture at the root system with its large leaves so that all three crops could flourish and have high yields in arid areas. At the same time, this system provided three types of food that grow with little water with less effort and can be eaten together.
Pattypan squash come in green, white, yellow and bi-colored varieties and are a good source of folic acid, magnesium, niacin and vitamins A and C. One cup contains only 25 calories!
Pattypan squash is most tender when relatively immature. You will find the peak flavor and texture is found on squash that is between 2 to 3 inches in diameter and no larger than 4 inches. Pattypans have a slightly sweeter flavor than other summer squash, particularly the pale green variety.
This squash is fragile with a short shelf life. When choosing, look for ones that are heavy for their size with no cuts or punctures. Store unwashed in a bag in the refrigerator. For optimum flavor use within 3-4 days but they will last up to 6 days if properly stored.
The most common way to prepare pattypan is to slice, chunk or halve it, then dip in water or an egg wash, coat with either flour or bread crumbs seasoned with pepper and herbs, then fry it until golden brown. Unlike most summer squash, pattypan hold up better to heat and high temperatures and are excellent to use in stews and chilies. It can be also be grilled, roasted, steamed or boiled.
To steam: Put whole small squash in steamer over boiling water, cook until tender, about 4-6 minutes, depending on size.
Roasted: Cut in half, toss with olive oil and season if desired, place on baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees on top rack for about 10-15 minutes or until tender. They also make great edible serving bowls by scooping out the centers before or after cooking and fill with stuffing of your choice. Or use pattypans in any recipe that calls for zucchini or crookneck squash, grate on top of a salad, use in baking or make vegetable noodles.
For additional pattypan squash recipes and serving suggestions, check out Chef Scotty’s Market Fresh Recipes at http://ext100.wsu.edu/clark/?p=8163.
Vicki Ivy is a Clark County WSU Extension Master Food Preserver. For additional recipes, food preservation and food safety information visit http://ext100.wsu.edu/clark/?p=1134. Have questions? Call MFP Helpline: 360-397-6060 ext. 5366, or join Facebook Discussion Group “WSU Home Food Preservers – Clark County.”