Roasting yellow squash with onions gives them a deep, rich, smoky flavor. It’s hard to believe they’re vegan and fat-free!
When I was growing up, my mother probably made some variant of this dish and I probably ate it, dutifully and without really tasting it. That all changed a couple of years ago when I sat down to eat the Southern-style meal my mom prepared during one of my brief visits. I took the first bite of the yellow squash with my mind more on the conversation than on the food but was brought back into awareness immediately by the smoky yet sweet taste of the browned squash and onions.
“Are you sure there isn’t any bacon grease in this?” I asked, fearing the worst.
“Of course not!”
“Then did you use a lot of oil or margarine?”
“No, just a non-stick skillet and a quick spray of Pam.”
Of course, I had to get her to tell me exactly how she’d cooked it, and once I saw how easy it was, browning it with onions became “my” standard way to cook yellow squash. The only problem was that it was hard to cook enough at a time. Even my largest non-stick or cast iron skillet would hold no more than two or three squashes after they had been sliced lengthwise. For a while I used two skillets just to have enough for the whole family to enjoy. Then one day I decided to try it in the oven and found that I could achieve the same browned, caramelized taste with more squash and less work. Better yet, the squash didn’t have to be watched as closely so I could get on with cooking the rest of the meal while they browned happily in the oven or toaster oven.
- about 2 small to medium yellow summer squash per person
- 1/2 small onion per person
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or lightly oil if necessary). Trim the ends of the squash, cut off the slender necks, and slice the necks in half, lengthwise. Then slice each squash into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Lay the slices on the cooking sheet in a single layer.
- Trim the ends of the onion and peel it. Cut it in half down through the top and place each half cut-side down on a cutting board. Slice into thin wedges. Separate the layers of the onions and sprinkle them over the squash.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until bottoms of squash begin to brown. Sprinkle with pepper and salt, turn each slice over, and bake until bottoms of squash are browned, about 15 minutes more. Serve immediately, hot out of the oven.
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