In many parts of the country late summer means abundant backyard gardens overflowing with fresh zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes. If you don’t have a backyard full of your own then generous neighbors are often eager to share their bounty. Failing that the stalls at farmer’s markets and produce stands are likely to have good bargains on these summer garden staples.
The question is: what to do with them? Favorite recipes quickly get tiresome as we work to make good use of the garden’s bounty. At this time of year I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try that will offer some variety to late summer menus.
Here is a simple way to prepare a medley of late summer vegetables without even turning on the stove. This pretty Italian Vegetable Toss combines zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes with mushrooms, herbs and some Parmesan cheese. It takes only a few minutes to cook in the microwave and clean up is easy since it can be served in the same dish it cooks in.
Italian Vegetable Toss
Adapted from a brochure of Microwave Tips from Cut-Rite Wax Paper
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 medium yellow squash, sliced
1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1 Tablespoon butter, diced
1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves, snipped
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges, or
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Place the zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and basil in a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe casserole. Sprinkle with the black pepper and toss. Dot with the bits of butter.
Cover loosely with a sheet of wax paper and microwave on high until the squash is crisp-tender, approximately 4-6 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking time.
Add tomatoes and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Microwave on high another 1-2 minutes.
Let vegetables rest for a few minutes before serving.