Tender-fleshed, mild tasting yellow squashes come in a number of shapes, sizes and hues. All yellow squashes reach their peak during the hottest weeks of summer. These versatile vegetables are adaptable to different cooking styles and cuisines, much like their close cousin the zucchini. Sautéed in butter or olive oil, they can top pasta or accompany roasted meat, poultry or fish. Grilling and roasting brings out their sweetness. They can usually be substituted in recipes that call for zucchini.
Squash blossoms are the brilliant yellow flowers still attached to immature zucchini when they turn up at the market in the late spring. The flowers can be sautéed and used in quesadillas, pastas or soups. Alternatively, they can be filled with cheese, then battered and deep-fried.
Purchase yellow squashes when small for tender, seedless flesh. As they grow, yellow squash becomes firmer and seedier. Yellow squashes should have bright color and feel heavy and girm for their size. Look for smooth skins with no blemishes.
Store the squashes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Rinse the squashes and trim the ends with a sharp knife. Their thin, flavorful skins do not require peeling. Keep smaller squash whole for roasting. Larger ones can be cut into slices or chunks for grilling or sautéing. If you plan to stuff them, cut yellow squashes in half lengthwise and hollow each one gently with a teaspoon.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Companion: The A to Z Guide to Everyday Cooking, Equipment and Ingredients (Time-Life Books, 2000)