By Tommy C. Simmons, an enthusiastic cook Photos courtesy of Tommy C. Simmons
I posted on my Facebook page this morning that I was having a “Buckaroo Banzai” moment after making Betty Starnes’s squash recipe from Corinne Cook’s popular cookbook, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” The movie’s line, “No matter where you go, there you are,” sums up what I was feeling about cooking squash Louisiana-style and appreciating the foods and friends of the state I grew up in. The recipe, Crawfish or Shrimp Squash Dressing, is probably my favorite summer squash recipe and I’m grateful to Starnes for sharing the recipe through Cook’s cookbook. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t value Louisiana friends and food, and fortunately those pleasant memories of home stay with me, always.
The finished casserole-style dish isn’t pretty but it tastes like more, I promise.
Now, about this great dish, cook it right now while summer squash are abundant. If you don’t like seafood, leave out the shrimp or crawfish. When you use shrimp, be sure to use wild-caught shrimp, which are so much better tasting than farmed shrimp. Also, if the shrimp are large cut them into quarter-size chunks.
Besides yellow squash, try to use a Vidalia onion for the whole onion and a fresh bell pepper, green or red, in the dressing. Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave and can also be frozen if you are cooking for a small household.
Home kitchen-tested recipe
Crawfish or Shrimp Squash Dressing
Serves 8. Recipe by Betty Starnes is from “Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Cookbook by Corinne Cook.
6 cups sliced yellow squash (about 2 lbs.)
2 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tsp. Spice Islands brand Beau Monde seasoning
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. thyme leaves
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 lb. crawfish tails or 1-½ lbs. cleaned shrimp
Combine squash and water in a Dutch oven and cook until tender. Drain well. Set aside drained squash.
In Dutch oven, sauté onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic in butter until tender.
Add drained squash and egg to vegetable mixture. Stir in breadcrumbs, cheese, Beau Monde seasoning, salt, black pepper and thyme. Add cayenne pepper and Tabasco.
Stir in crawfish or shrimp.
Spoon mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly on the edge and heated through.
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