Warm, but still crisp, this Sauteed Summer Squash with Balsamic Glaze is an easy side dish for late summer dinners.
When my cookbook book club cooked from Saladish by Irene Rosen recently, I chose a summer squash recipe. In it, you sliced summer squash lengthwise, brushed it with oil and sprinkled it with seasonings. Then you sauteed it to crisp-tender. Finally, you brushed it with a glaze and served it with spicy quick pickles.
It was delightful.
But perhaps the most delightful part of it, for me, was the technique used to make the salad. I loved it. I loved how the squash didn’t get mushy. And I loved how much flavor came from the process of cooking and glazing.
While I haven’t made the recipe from the book again, I have been using the technique all summer on side dishes.
How to Prepare Summer Squash for this Dish
Cut the ends off the squash. You want to remove both the blossom end and the stem end.
Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Then cut shallow slits diagonally in the squash, about 1/2-inch apart along the length of the squash. Repeat on the opposite diagonal.
Spray the cut side of the squash with cooking oil spray. I use a coconut oil one, usually, but any oil will do. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Cook in a hot pan, flipping once, until lightly browned. Remove from heat and brush with balsamic glaze. Although I did it in the pan here, it’s usually easier to remove the squash to a plate or serving dish before brushing with glaze.
Then, dig in.
How to Eat Sauteed Summer Squash with Balsamic Glaze
Crisp-tender and warm, this squash has an earthy freshness with a sweet-tangy glaze. It tastes of summer evenings, eating al fresco and shopping at farmers markets.
And it looks pretty on the plate too.
This recipe serves four with half of a squash each. But you could also double this for a bigger side dish portion — or to serve more people at once. This squash is excellent with so many proteins — grilled chicken, roasted salmon, sauteed shrimp, pork chops, flank steak.
What I especially love about this method of cooking summer squash is that it’s unexpected. This isn’t the mushy, watery cooked squash of my childhood. And in this recipe, with a light bit of seasoning and just-enough glaze to give it a boost of flavor without overwhelming it.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy it too.
- 2 medium summer squash (about 6-8 inches long)
- cooking oil spray (I use a coconut oil one for this)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp balsamic glaze
- Slice off the ends of the summer squash and then slice in half, lengthwise.
- Use a sharp knife to cut shallow slits about 1/2-inch apart, diagonally, along the entire summer squash. Repeat on the opposing diagonal.
- Spray the squash lightly with cooking oil spray on the cut side. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray the pan with cooking oil spray. Arrange the squash, cut side down, in the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the squash to a plate or serving dish. Brush the balsamic glaze on the cut size of the squash, thoroughly coating all the pieces.
- Serve immediately.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.