I can’t help it! It all began with the salsa verde and I have now been salsa/taco crazy. I made that salsa verde for snacking at a backyard picnic, then found myself using the leftovers in fish tacos for friends.
The good thing, is that this taco craziness has led to some creative uses for squash. We have received abundant yellow squash and zucchini this year in our CSA, but I also ordered extra to make more squash pickles. It should go without saying that we have had a lot of squash-based meals, have a lot of squash in the freezer, and have had lots of squash baked goods. I have also begun using squash to make various ‘slaws’ as side dishes or toppings for other meals. A few weeks ago, I made squash slaw with tomatoes and fresh mint for a picnic at the Franklin Park Conservatory for our anniversary. Squash provides a fantastic foundation for your favorite flavors. It’s a great backdrop to the menu’s cuisine for the night. Tonight, I made a squash slaw to top fish tacos.
Of course you could make chicken, tofu, or beef tacos also. In fact, I encourage you to try your favorite taco recipe with this slaw on top. The lovely crisp texture and distinct flavor should compliment your favorite taco stuffing.
First, I used my mandoline to thinly slice 2 medium squash. I lightly salted the squash pieces and left them in a colander in my sink to drain all the excess liquid. I stirred the salted squash and shook out the excess moisture a few times over the course of an hour or so . (You could do this while you are at work. Just place the colander in a bowl and pop it in the fridge. When you get home, stir the squash, shake out the moisture, and throw the rest of the ingredients together.) At about 45 minutes in, I prepped the other ingredients. First, I thinly diced two bell peppers that were half red and half green from my mother’s garden. I added the kernels from two grilled ears of corn and then I roughly chopped a generous handful of cilantro. I tossed them together with the zest and juice of two limes. I added the squash and mixed all the ingredients together well. I have found that the salt on the squash is usually enough. I did add one rounded teaspoon of cumin and a few generous pinches of chili powder to the mix until I found the seasoning to be right for me. I would recommend using spices from your cupboard instead of prepackaged taco seasoning, as you are unlikely to need the extra salt in the commercial mixes. Don’t be scared of seasoning by taste, this is an extremely forgiving recipe. Add some spices, stir and taste. Is it good? Stop. Does it need a little something? Trust yourself to add a bit more cumin. Or some cayenne. Or fresh hot peppers. Or more cilantro. Or another lime. Or all of them. This is your dinner, enjoy it!
I seared a small piece of fresh fish from my local market quickly and warmed up some corn tortillas in the toaster oven. The juice of half a lime and more fresh cilantro on the fish, and dinner is ready. I topped my tacos with feta as I could not find queso blanco in my market today. And when
the tacos lost my interest we ran out of fish, my homemade pico de gallo and slaw happily topped my chips and filled my belly. Personally, my favorite part of squash slaw is its versatility. I eat it on chips, in a tortilla, with a fork. This is summer right? What’s better than the flavor of sunshine and some hard work on your plate? Plus, you barely have to cook anything.
When the produce is this fresh, life is good.
These are the days to thank my farmers. Their willingness to toil means I don’t have to. A few chops and slices in my kitchen is about all it takes.
I hope you are all eating as well as we are! Happy August, dear readers!