This post may be better titled, “An exercise in photographing a boring food so someone actually wants to eat it.” I opted for a diversion tactic featuring my favorite June bloom, the hydrangea.
The hydrangea bush that grows on the tiny plot of land outside my back door is one of my most prized possessions. When I first moved in, the hydrangea bloomed only in blue. Over the past few years, pink and purple blooms have started to make an appearance. I’m sure a horticulturist could explain what it is about the soil composition that has altered the color of the blooms, but I like the mystery. On the other hand, a mystery I would like to solve is how a squash casserole that looks so plain can taste so delicious.
After waiting patiently in my recipe binder for just over two years, I decided squash casserole was the perfect recipe to use up my remaining squash (hence the green zucchini you see pictured in what is supposed to be a yellow summer squash dish) and leftover cheeses (gouda and Parmesan in place of cheddar) and breadcrumbs (in place of crackers). The message I am trying to convey here is this dish is forgiving, and it takes only a few simple ingredients to create a delicious side.
When the casserole first came out of the oven, I assumed it would not make it to the pages of the blog because it had zero visual appeal. Then I tasted it. And shortly after that taste I got busy figuring out how to give the casserole visual appeal because it was good. Really good. By the time I had finished photographing the small plate you see here, I had eaten half the casserole in the 9 x 13 pan. In my defense, the casserole was thin and I was hungry. Enjoy!
- 2 pounds yellow summer squash, trimmed and sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup grated Gouda cheese
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- Place the squash, onion, water, and salt in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Pour into a colander to drain and cool.
- When the squash is no longer hot, place in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer. The squash will remain somewhat chunky.
- Add the egg, mayonnaise, cheeses, pepper and paprika and mix until combined.
- Pour the squash mixture into a greased baking dish (I used a 9 x 13 dish for a thin casserole), and top with bread crumbs.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
The original recipe called from ½ cup grated cheddar in place of the Parmesan and Gouda cheeses. The original recipe also called for topping the casserole with ½ cup crushed crackers instead of bread crumbs.