July 12th, 2010

Summer Squash-Sweet Corn Gratin

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When we moved from New York to Nashville oh-so-many years ago, I was eleven years old: tall and awkward, somewhat shy, and firmly entrenched in my picky eating ways. My first impressions of The South ranged from confusion to dismay.

I had a hard time understanding some of the lingo and the accent. I didn’t know that when our neighbor Lola Newman said, “‘Y’all fixin’ ta go to the thee-ay-ter?” she was asking if we were going to the movies.

And there were foods (eek!) I had never seen before, like pickled okra and chow-chow, beans and greens cooked down in ham hock, skillet cornbread. I remember my picky girl horror when Lola Newman welcomed us with a dish called Summer Squash Pie.

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“What is That?” I asked my sister Carole, who was the antithesis of picky eating. I was certain that she purposefully ate things like green olive mustard sandwiches just to gross me out.

“This?” she replied, holding up a forkful of the pie. “It’s yellow squash. It’s a vegetable but it’s sweet. I like it. Wanna bite?” she snickered, in full knowledge of my impending response.

“Yuck. No.”

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I have to laugh at myself, having come to embrace The South, its foods, easy-speak, and sensibilities. It’s become my home. And, I believe that I would really enjoy Lola’s pie now, although I imagine she put sugar in it, and I would not.

Today, I made a kind of squash pie–no crust, or eggs, though. It was too hot for that. I layered young uncooked yellow squash (that I grew myself!!) with sweet corn that I bought at our farmers market. It’s more of a gratin. Bechamel sauce seasoned with onion and thyme held it together.

We enjoyed it, served with a piece of crusty bread covered with a fat slice of tomato. Our supper was light and summery-sweet, sooooo good. I think Lola would have liked it, too.

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SUMMER SQUASH-SWEET CORN GRATIN
1 T. Butter
2-3 young Yellow Squash, sliced very thin into circles
2-3 ears Sweet Corn, kernels cut off the cob, cob scraped
1 T. Butter
1 c. Water
1/4 c. diced onion
1 T. Butter
1 T. All Purpose Flour
a few sprigs of Thyme
Salt and Black Pepper
1 Cup Lowfat Milk
Grated Gruyere or Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 9″ pie pan with 1 T. melted butter, and lay out squash in partly overlapping concentric rings until the bottom of the pie pan is covered. This will use about half of your squash.

Melt 1 T. butter in a skillet; add corn and corn scrapings. Season with salt and black pepper, and stir in 1 cup water. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes–corn will partially cook and release more “corn milk.”

In a small saucepan, melt 1 T. butter and saute onions until translucent. Stir in flour and cook until it dissolves and is incorporated in the butter. Stir in milk, thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Stir until bechamel becomes thick. Remove from heat.

Spoon corn and its juices over the layer of squash. Spoon and spread bechamel over the corn. Add another layer of squash, and repeat the process. Garnish the top with a center floret of squash circles and sprinkle cheese over all.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until liquid reduces and thickens. Cool slightly and serve. Serves 2 generously.

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Posted in Recipes, Rice/Other Grains/Legumes, Vegetables

23 Responses to “Summer Squash-Sweet Corn Gratin”
  1. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    I think I ought to visit TN just to listen to that wonderful accent. I’ve always enjoyed the combination of corn thyme and cheese. This looks like a terrific gratin.

  2. Teri Says:

    Oh that sounds fantastic! And a perfect “use it up” recipe for this time of year!

  3. FOODESSA Says:

    The secret of course must have been the sumptuous bechamel sauce to cover all that nutritional goodness;o)

    Boy…what a transition from two completely different cities…it must have been quite the adjustment.

    Thanks for the recipe and the little bit to get to know you better ;o)

    BTW…the next time you stop by my place…there is something for you to pick up on my APPRECIATION page.

    Have a great week and flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  4. rhonda Says:

    as usual………….you are a delight to the senses

  5. Judy Says:

    MMMMMMMM………yellow vegetables at their best! Thanks, can’t wait to try this one.

  6. Patsy Vaughan Says:

    Our squash here has been amazing this summer – as, of course, are you AND this dish! Two my fav veggies – got to be a winner –

  7. Patsy Vaughan Says:

    Our squash here has been amazing this summer – as, of course, are you AND this dish! Two of my fav veggies – got to be a winner –

  8. Michele Napoli Says:

    What a great looking dish. Great for lunch or supper on a hot day.

  9. Mary Says:

    I’ve never see this gratin before. It sounds different and delicious. It looks wonderful. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  10. Tracy Says:

    So beautiful. I’m craving this. I could just hear Lola’s accent. Wow, what a great little post.

  11. Fluffy Says:

    this gratin (and your pickiness) makes me grin

    corn and squash are extra sweet right now!

  12. Cristie Says:

    Your story of growing up in the South . . . after you moved to the South was just delightful to read. Thanks for the peak into your past. Your gratin sounds really divine and something we could pass off on a Sunday meal!

  13. Mary Says:

    Hi, just jumping back in to let you know I haven’t yet seen the radishes but will certainly keep my eyes open for them. Thanks for letting me know. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  14. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    This is like some super delicious fantastic version (+ squash) of the sad little cans of creamed corn that my sister and I loved when we were tots.

  15. gigi Says:

    i made this tonite for my neighbor’s birthday party….everyone loved it !!!!
    (i did add a few thin slices of tomato on top for additional color)

  16. Ingrid Says:

    I’m going to try this on for sure!

  17. Tammy Says:

    That is beautiful and I have so much yellow summer squash that I’m marching straight into the kitchen. Perfect. Thank you for the inspiration.

  18. gigi Says:

    ps…i just ordered 7″ pyrex pie pans off amazon…this way, i can make smaller size portions and give them away to my single friends. fun.

  19. Kelli Says:

    Nanci,
    Made this yummy dish last night as a side. Fantastic! I will definitely make again with a couple tweaks (I’m still a novice cook and continue to learn). Heading up to MI next week and my folks tell me they have a garden full of squash…:)

  20. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Go, Kelli! and have a safe trip home….

  21. Madeleine Says:

    My plan– make this scrumptulescent dish tonight!

  22. Barbara Says:

    What a marvelous gratin! Perfect for this time of year. I’m definitely making it this weekend. I don’t have nearly enough recipes making use of these two summer veggies. And together they sound divine.

  23. Madeleine Says:

    Just wanted to follow-up on my post to let you know that I did make this dish last night and it was exactly as expected (see above comment). It was SO sweet with enough savory notes to balance. Mmmmm. I’m excited that Tony and I controlled ourselves from eating all of it last night, meaning we have amazing left-overs to look forward to.



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