You can cook the whole squash flower without washing, but we know bees have been tracking in there without wiping their six little feet. Instead, just pinch off the blossom, nip off the bristly flower bits on the bottom (where it attaches to the squash), tear away most of the petal and look inside. Any bugs or garden soil will show up well against the yellow inside of the blossom. I’m not fond of insect protein, so I tear closed blossoms in half to take a peek.
2 cups squash flowers
1 stunted squash
salt and pepper
Collect flowery bits, and nab a tomato and a few too-small-to-bother- with squash on your way to the kitchen.
For stunted small squash, chop off the pesky ends, peel the skin and look at the middle. If the seeds are small, slice and chop everything into cubes. If the seeds look large and bothersome, quarter the vegetable lengthwise and slice away the seeds. When everything is all peeled and cubed, start cooking squash, later add the flower mixture and finally make the peanut sauce.
In a bowl, add the chopped tomato and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce to “edge things up.” Lightly salt and pepper, and stir. Add flowers on top and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Stir everything and pop in the microwave on high for a minute.
Set a frypan to high heat. (I use cast iron because I destroy anything else due to stove knob dyslexia.) Add more olive oil than you might expect and tip the pan to let oil run all over and around the edge. Let the pan heat for a few moments. The oil’s flow should change into a slight rope-like pattern to show it is hot but not smoking. Add the squash and stir with a spatula, then turn the heat down. Shake a tablespoon or two of soy sauce in the pan and let it steam up. Add a tablespoon of ginger sauce. Salt and pepper lightly. Stir everything around again and turn the heat back up.
Add the sullen-looking flower and tomato mixture from the microwave into the pan and stir. Cover the pan to let it steam and turn the heat down. In a couple minutes, taste one of your bigger squash cubes to see if it is softening. If you need to add moisture, do it sparingly.
When you guess that the squash is mostly cooked, follow closely the onerous instructions on making my exclusive Jimbo peanut sauce: Open the peanut butter jar, knife two big gobs of peanut butter on top of the cooking vegetables and stir until it all disappears.
Serve in bowls. There is a lot of fibre and goodness in this meal, including protein in the peanut butter... even if we don’t eat the insects (which would be cruel, despite the obvious additional nutritional benefits).
From the kitchen of Jim Kitts