Summer Squash Scampi
While scampi are a type of crustacean (also known as langoustines), the word has also come to refer to the garlicky lemon-butter sauce that drapes shrimp at Italian American restaurants. But what if you lost the shellfish altogether? When summer squash is sliced and cooked only part way, they have a juicy snap similar to shrimp, no mushiness. This rendition also maintains the lively flavors of garlic and lemon, which are only slightly mellowed by the residual heat of the sauce. Eat with pasta or crusty bread, or as a side dish to any summery meal.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½pounds zucchini or other summer squash, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
- Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
- Neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
- 1garlic clove, finely chopped
- ¼teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- ½cup white wine
- 3tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and cold
- 1tablespoon lemon juice (from half a lemon)
- 1tablespoon chopped parsley, mint or basil leaves (or ½ tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves)
Step 1Arrange the squash in a single layer and sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon salt. Let sit for 10 minutes (and no more than 30). Pat dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel.
Step 2In a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high, heat a thin layer of oil (about 1 tablespoon). Add a single layer of squash, salted sides down. Cook, without flipping, until browned underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter or large plate, and repeat with the remaining squash, adding more oil as necessary. Sprinkle with garlic and red-pepper flakes.
Step 3With the empty skillet over medium-high heat, add the white wine (stand back as it may flame). Simmer until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and shake the skillet until the butter melts and combines with the wine into a smooth sauce. Remove skillet from the heat, add the lemon juice and shake to combine. Season to taste with salt, then pour over the squash. Top with the parsley and serve warm.