Frustration turns to temptation with summer vegetable hash.

Can you imagine anything any better than crispy fresh corn, peppers and squash? Our 4-year old loves this side dish, as do her parents!

Oh boy can I tell it’s Monday. After taking last Friday off for a long mother’s day weekend I planned on posting a wonderful recipe I have for old-fashioned cottage cheese dill rolls today. Nicely browned outside and soft on the inside, these rolls are fairly easy to prepare and smell awesome coming out of the oven; a balanced, soothing way to start any week. Well, unless you can’t access the images and spend 3 hours making various attempts at a work around…augh.

Needless to say, instead I’m off in a new direction…a summer direction. This side dish is also very easy, pretty and delicious to the palate. In my town, local vegetables are starting to come into season (yes, early I know) so in honor of the soon to be harvested crop of sweet corn, bell peppers and squash I give you my vegetable hash recipe. It’s my go-to summer side and compliments all kinds of grilled proteins including fish, chicken and beef. I served it last weekend with a nice citrus grilled salmon fillet. If you’d rather leave out the dairy just use a little more olive oil and no light cream, tastes just as great.

I’d say the key with this is to use very fresh veggies and try to get everything cut into the same small chop. Yes, it is worth it to use fresh corn and cut it off the cob yourself!

Straight forward ingredients – again the key is to use fresh vegetables, hopefully locally grown.

Cutting corn off the cob is easy peasy – sharp knife, steady hand and shallow bowl to catch the occasional flying kernel.

Sweet bell peppers bathed in olive oil and butter.

Zucchini time!

Here comes the…corn. I love all the color!

Season with the pasta sprinkle or herbs de provence and the pepper. Salt is optional – many times I add no additional salt!

Summer Vegetable Hash

  • 2 ½ cups fresh corn (about 3 large ears)
  • 3 cups diced zucchini squash (about 2 large zucchini)
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper (1 large)
  • 2 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbl. unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tsp. Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle OR Herbs de Provence
  • 1-2 tbl. light cream (half & half)
  • Salt, optional –  to taste

Melt butter with the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Bring the heat up and add the bell pepper, cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and cook 3 more minutes and then add the corn, cooking 2-3 more minutes. Stir again. Sprinkle with seasonings and turn down heat. Stir in the light cream just before serving. Makes 4 cups of “hash” enough for 8 servings.


Dressed To Impress: Spinach-Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Got zucchini? Well, here in the Lowcountry it isn’t quite peak time yet for this muti-purpose vegetable but with the balmy weather I am anticipating a bumper crop for local farmers and home gardeners alike. Come June (maybe late May this year?) there should be a regular zucchini-palooza in my county and I will be looking for new, delish ways to prepare this veggie by July 4th. You can only make (and consume) so much zucchini bread, sauteed squash and cheesy squash casserole in a summer.

Southerners are genuinely generous and Southern gardeners especially are apt to leave a grocery bag of just-plucked goodies on their neighbor’s front porch or co-worker’s desk – a happy surprise that never wears out it’s welcome at my house. But what to do with all that zucchini? Well, here’a a easy-to-prepare recipe that’s dressed to impress – and tastes darn good too.

Tip: Straight zucchini that are all about the same size work best in this dish, both in presentation and to allow even cooking.

Making "cups" with zucchini is easy. A small spoon will work to scoop out the core as will a melon-ball tool. Try not to break through the bottom of the "cup".

Fairly simple and short list of ingredients for this filling.

Adding the ricotta to the eggs. A whisk work great.

Mix in the spinach, the grated Parmesan and the seasonings.

Butter crumbs: Melt some butter in a bowl, add fresh bread crumbs and voilà "butter crumbs". I use the end slices of bread loaves - we call them the heel - for crumbs.

Butter crumbs: I usually have a bag of these in my refrigerator ready to top casseroles, mac-n-cheese or as a crust for oven-fried pork chops.

Sprinkle the butter crumbs over all the zucchini cups or simply dip into the crumbs.

Ready for the oven!

Out of the oven, all cheesy spinachy good with a crunchy top of butter crumb. This recipe makes at least 8 servings of filling, just use more zucchini. Or use your leftover filling to stuff sweet Vidalia onions!

Spinach-Stuffed Zucchini with Butter Crumbs

  • (1) 16 oz. package frozen spinach or fresh (enough for 1-½ cups cooked, chopped spinach that has been squeezed dry)
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (light or whole milk)
  • 2/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp. salt plus extra
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 5-6 medium zucchinis, washed and dried
  • Butter crumbs (see below)

If using frozen spinach cook according to package instructions, cool and drain. Squeeze out as much water as possible. I use paper towels.

Prepare zucchini by either slicing them the long dimension in half or cutting into 1 ½” pieces to make ‘cups’. Either way, scoop out the core of the zucchini avoiding breaking through to the bottom. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, add the ricotta and the Parmesan. Mix in the spinach and the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Fill each zucchini cup or boat with the spinach mixture. Sprinkle with butter crumbs* (or dip the cups into the crumbs as I did, whatever is easiest).

Place in a lightly oiled baking pan, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5-8 minutes until the tops are browned.

Left over filling can be refrigerated for 3 days. This filling is delicious stuffed in fish fillets like sole, flounder or even salmon or stuffed into other vegetables like Vidalia onions and baked.

*Butter Crumbs: Toast 2  slices of your favorite lunch bread (I use the heel). Grind in a food processor to a fine crumb. Melt 1 Tbl. butter in a bowl in the microwave. Toss the crumbs in the melted butter. That’s it. I store the butter crumbs in a plastic zip baggie in the frig.