I have to admit, side dishes don’t get a ton of attention in our kitchen. That’s not to say we don’t prepare them, only that it is just too easy to throw together a very simple salad along side one of our main dishes and call it dinner. But with the end-of-summer CSA shares loaded with all sorts of good things right now, it is time to take a look beyond the salad and explore another wonderful and quick side dish that takes advantage of the season’s bounty.
- About 1-1/2 lbs of assorted summer squash. Today, I’ve got a pattypan, a yellow squash, and a zucchini
- 1 small-medium fennel bulb
- 1 to 1-1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (you may use 1 tsp dried)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp coarse pepper (black or white)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Quarter the long squash lengthwise, then cut into 1″ pieces. Cut the pattypan anyway you can (hey – that rhymes!) so it is about 1″ pieces too. Cut the butt end and the stalks off of the fennel bulb. Save the stalks – you’ll need a couple of the “fronds” at the end, and you never know when you might find a recipe that needs a stalk or two of fennel. Slice the rest of the bulb across and peel apart to make a bunch of “V” shaped slices.
Throw the squash and fennel into a bowl large enough to hold it all with a little room for tossing. Add in the thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss everything to coat well (I cover with plastic wrap and shake it violently until everything is coated – just make sure to keep you eye on the seal around the edges). Spread it in a 1″ deep baking pan so it is roughly a single layer. Put it in the oven for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes in the oven, take it out and sprinkle the garlic slices over everything. Stir it up a bit, then put it back in the oven for about 5 or so more minutes – until the fennel starts to brown a touch and everything else is tender.
Chop up a couple of fronds of the fennel (maybe 1/2 tbsp worth) and sprinkle over top. Serve along side whatever main dish you’ve chosen for tonight (I’d recommend something that doesn’t also need the oven). Enjoy!