Chef Dan Fluharty introduced a new vegetable dish in Culinary Foundations II class on Thursday, to accompany our poached salmon and rice pilaf dish.
Squash and tomatoes provençal, Chef called it. As he described the ingredients and the way to make the dish, it seemed very familiar.
It's what I call calabacitas con tomates -- literally little squash with tomatoes. My mom made it often, and I have made it most of my life. Squash is another of those foods of New World origin, cultivated throughout what are now both North and South America by indigenous people long before Europeans came. In fact, the word "squash" comes from a Native American word for it.
Here's how I make this tasty side dish: Heat a half-cup of chicken stock or water in a sauce pot. Add diced half of an onion and 1 clove of minced garlic, followed by 4 peeled, seeded and chopped roma tomatoes (Chef Dan's recipe called for crushed tomatoes). Add herbs -- thyme, tarragon, marjoram. If the herbs are dry, add them in the beginning; if fresh, add toward the end of cooking. The zucchini and/or yellow summer squash are cut in half-inch-thick rounds, and they go in last, because they cook quickly. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until most liquid is gone. Cover with grated Monterey Jack cheese to serve.