Flying Saucers

When looking for ideas for this column, I go to several places for inspiration.  I was so excited to be able to go to the farmers market last Friday.  You never know what you will find on someone’s table.  I also like to check out Walmart and Miss Mary’s Market.  Walmart occasionally has odder things like dragon fruit and jicama, which I also picked up this weekend so be prepared for a column on this vegetable.  

While perusing the tables last Friday, I was excited to see the candy onions, green beans, lettuce, etc. because I love the fresh vegetables, but I was looking for something different, something I can’t get just anywhere.  I was not disappointed.  Sitting there was a little flying saucer shaped squash known as patty pan.  Instantly, I knew what this week’s column would be and I purchased some.  

Patty pan is a summer squash and is known for its small size, round and shallow shape, and scalloped edges.  It comes in yellow, green or white variations.  This particular squash is most tender before fully ripe and so most are harvested at about 2-3 inches in diameter.  In this young stage, the entire thing is edible from the skin to the seeds.  If left to grow, it will get larger.  The skin becomes tough, the meat becomes fibrous and the seeds become too hard to eat.  

Patty pan squash is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C and a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A (notably through its concentration of carotenoids, including beta-carotene in the yellow variety), fiber, potassium, folate, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus. The nutrients combine to form a heart healthy, disease-preventing food, not to mention extremely diet-friendly fare. The antioxidants in patty pan work to keep free radicals at bay while its high fiber content helps excrete toxins from the body. Patty pan also contains nutrients that combat inflammation.  Being in season from April to August, this is a great squash to add to your meals throughout summer.

This fun vegetable can be used as most other summer squashes are. You can sauté, grill, boil, bake or even eat it raw.  Hit the farmers market for this gem of a veggie because Walmart doesn’t carry it.  Make your grocery list and join me in the kitchen for easy recipes using this tender squash!  

Fried Patty Pan Squash

2-3 patty pan squash, sliced 1/2 inch thick

salt pepper to taste

¼ cup flour or more if needed

½ cup sour cream

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 green onions chopped

1 handful basil chopped

2-3 Tbsps. vegetable oil

Lightly salt and pepper each piece of squash and dredge on both sides in flour.  Heat oil over medium heat in pan and cook squash in single layer for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned. In small bowl combine sour cream, garlic, basil and green onion. Mix well to incorporate.  Serve squash topped with sour cream mixture.

Recipe adapted from


Patty Pan Carpaccio

patty pan squash


fresh chopped parsley

arugula, optional

shaved parmesan

salt and pepper

cup fresh lemon juice

cup olive oil

Slice tops off patty pan squash with knife and set aside. Slice tops off zucchini, discard.  Thinly slice remaining squash with mandolin if possible, slices should be thin.  Add sliced squash, plus tops of patty pan squash into bowl and add parsley, shaved parmesan and arugula, use as much as you want, to taste.  Go light on pepper if using arugula as it tastes peppery to begin with.  Be sure to taste as you go and adjust as needed.  Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil dressing then pour over squash and toss very gently.

Recipe adapted from


Oven-Roasted Patty Pan Squash

½lb patty pan squash, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 shallot, sliced thin

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. avocado oil

Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash, shallot, thyme, olive oil and salt together in bowl.  Spread mixture out onto sheet pan. Bake 15 to 25 minutes or until squash is tender. Monitor it periodically by testing it with fork.  Serve hot or at room temperature. 

Recipe adapted from


Sautéed Patty Pan and Zucchini

3 Tbsps. unsalted sweet cream butter

2 cups zucchini, stems removed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups small yellow patty pan squash, trimmed and cut in half crosswise

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup (about 16 leaves) fresh basil, torn and loosely packed

½ cup (about 32 leaves) fresh mint, loosely packed

In 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, melt butter. Add zucchini and patty pans and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to large serving dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add basil and mint, and toss to combine.


Recipe adapted from