Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summer Squash with Lemon Herb Butter

Two kind of summer squash, basil, parsley, capers, and shallot
Simple Summery Ingredients

Recipe inspired by Vicky and Live Earth Farm

If I had to pick only one vegetable to enjoy for the rest of my life, I’d choose summer squash. Of course, that’s cheating because with the near-infinite varieties of summer squash available, that’s hardly just one veggie. Summer squash colors, from palest yellow through golden through spring green to deepest emerald, delight the eye, particularly when prepared in combination. I’m a big fan of plain steamed squash, but recently rediscovered herb butters when my friend Vicky graced me with her back issues of Herb Companion magazine (now sadly defunct). Then a quick look through our CSA’s recipe index revealed a recipe for Lemon Caper Squash, which gets a flavor boost from herb butter. Now is the perfect time to harvest both squash and herbs from your garden, or find them at your local Farmers’ Market. The season for both will soon be past, so let’s revel in them while we can.

Lemon Herbed Squash with Striped Squash and Zucchini
Use One or More Kinds of Squash
Try one of my recipes below, our CSA’s Rebecca Mastoris’ recipe, or better yet, experiment with your own recipe based upon herbs varieties fresh from your garden. Lemon juice and lemon zest can be used interchangeably, but note that zest is more powerfully flavored and juice adds liquid. Green or red onion can be substituted for the shallots, or used in combination. Try your herb butters on green beans, corn and lima beans, or whatever else inspires you. Let us know in a comment if you find a fabulous combination. 

Plate of Parsley, Basil, Shallot, and Capers, Butter in Bowl, and Pestle
Chop Herbs then Work into Butter
Summer Squash with Lemon Herb Butter I
serves 4

1 lb. summer squash
1 tbsp. well drained, finely chopped capers
1 tbsp. minced shallot (1)
1 tbsp. basil
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. soft butter
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. lemon juice

Follow procedure for Summer Squash with Lemon Herb Butter II below. Recipe above has a lighter lemon flavor than recipe below, which contains lemon zest. You can also use some of each.

Bowl of Squash with bowl of Herb Butter in Background
The Moment before Buttering
Summer Squash with Lemon Herb Butter II
serves 8

2¼ lb. mixed summer squash
4 tsp. well drained, finely chopped capers
1½ tbsp. minced shallot
1½ tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1½ tbsp. finely chopped basil
2 tsp. lemon zest (1 lemon)
2 tbsp. soft butter
¼ tsp. sea salt
a few grinds pepper

Slice squash into even and fairly thick rounds or sticks, about 3/8 inches. Place in steamer, but prepare all other ingredients before steaming.

Squeeze any remaining liquid out of the capers. Work capers, shallot, parsley, basil, and lemon zest into butter using a wooden pestle (best) or wooden spoon.

Steam squash for 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Don’t overcook it to sogginess.

Shake excess liquid from steamer basket and transfer squash to serving bowl. Salt and gently toss squash. Drain again, and pat surface dry with paper towel.

Add herbed butter and pepper and toss squash till evenly coated with herby mixture. Serve immediately, with extra salt and pepper on the side for use as desired.

Bowl of Mixed Squash Topped with Herb Butter
Toss Gently to Melt Butter and Distribute Herbs
Closeup of mixed squash with herb butter
Tastes Even Better than it Looks


  1. Looks delicious!
    Great varieties there too--Zephyr squash and Safari zukes.

    1. Thanks for identifying the squash, Bill. Our CSA labels them as simply "mixed summer squash." :)

  2. This looks great. Sometimes, I like to do salad with steamed summer squash with yogurt dressing, just sprinkle some raisin, serve cold, taste nice. :)

    1. An intriguing idea, Yung. I wouldn't have thought to combine raisins with squash...yum!