Recipe: Oaxaca Style Summer Squash and Corn Medley

I have not been to the supermarket in a week.  We have been eating out of our organic garden and the remainders of what is in the fridge.  Yesterday when I got home from the office, I had no idea what we would have for dinner.  Since I was home first, I took over the kitchen.  Chefette for the day!  I opened the bin to find one yellow crookneck squash, one zucchini, one small purple eggplant (getting a little shriveled after a week), some corn on the cob that we had picked last weekend, and half a large yellow onion.  On one of the shelves in the refrigerator was some Queso Fresco (Oaxaca cheese), a bottle of salsa verde (green Mexican hot sauce), and homemade pesto.  Here’s what I did with it.

1 yellow crookneck squash, sliced thin

1 zucchini, sliced thin

1 small eggplant, peeled, and cut into 1″ cubes

2 medium corn on the cob

1/2 onion, diced

1/4 cup olive oil

4 ounces of Oaxaca Queso Fresco, cut into 1/2″ cubes

2 T. pesto or 2 T. salsa verde

1 T. salt

salt and pepper to taste

In a sautee pan, add the olive oil and heat over medium until a splash of water sizzles.  Add the eggplant cubes and sprinkle evenly with 1 T. salt.  Sautee for five minutes over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover pan and cook for 15 minutes.  Add onions, zucchini and squash.  Stir well and cover.  Continue cooking over low heat for another 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, using a sharp paring knife, hold the corn cob small side up and cut the kernels off the cob.  Add pesto or salsa verde to squash and eggplant mixture at the end of the total 30 minutes cooking time.  Eggplant and onions should be transluscent and squash should be soft but the slices still intact.  Taste.  Correct the seasoning.  Just before serving, add the fresh corn kernels and Queso Fresco.  Stir.  Cover for 2-3 minutes until cheese begins to soften and kernels are cooked.

We wrapped this mixture in whole wheat tortillas and made big veggie burritos.  Delicioso.  Serves two with hearty appetites as a vegetarian entree.  Serve with a chilled sauvignon blanc or chardonnay or a really cold Tecate.

Notes for the Cooks:  Queso Fresco is a very versatile and mild cheese.  You can crumble it like a topping on a pizza or cut it into cubes, like I did here.  In Oaxaca, we eat it for breakfast cut in cubes to accompany eggs and potatoes or to stuff inside fresh made corn tortillas.  if you don’t have fresh corn on the cob, you can substitute frozen baby corn.  If you like a lot of garlic, add some peeled garlic cloves to the first step when you begin to sautee the eggplant.  The secret to this dish is the long, slow cooking of the eggplant.

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