Farm Fresh Art — Herbed Couscous Stuffed Patty Pans
Food is self-evident; plucked right from the ground or vine or sea, its power to delight is immediate. — Anthony Beal
Patty pan. The name itself brings smile on my face. I love to say it again and again. Perhaps it sounds a little similar from a nursery rhyme.
Resembling a flying saucer, this beautiful summer squash reminds me of toy tops that some of us remember from our childhood. I do. It was fun playing with them. Scalloped edges and sunshine yellow color gives this squash a special charm. It’s a perfect example of the saying, ” We eat with our eyes first.” Patty pans are ideal to create something elegant to impress your guests, or something simple on a busy day.
Patty pan is also known as scalloped squash and custard squash. Buttery, tender, and eye catching, it is available in green and white varieties too. Its health benefits along with its beautiful appearance makes it a perfect candidate for a good looking healthy meal.
Walking through farmers markets these days, and enjoying the farm fresh produce has been an absolute delight. Summer squashes are everywhere, and they are hard to miss. Different colors and shapes — some familiar and some new. On my recent visit, I fell in love with these patty pans. I think they are a beautiful work of art from Mother Nature!
These stuffed patty pans are great as a starter or side. You can serve two (or more) with some salad to complete a meal. I stuffed them with whole wheat couscous, preserved lemon, garbanzo beans, parsley, dill, mint, and some sunflower seeds. You could also add some feta cheese. Stuffed or not, the filling is delicious and very summery with herbs and lemon. A little crunch from sunflower seeds add texture. If you don’t have preserved lemon, use lemon juice to taste instead, or a couple olives (green or Kalamata) will work too giving that extra zing.
4 small patty pans
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for couscous
Flesh of squash, chopped
1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 cup cooked whole wheat couscous
1 tablespoon preserved lemon, chopped
1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
6-8 mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
Crumbled feta cheese to taste (optional)
Cut the tops of the patty pans and scoop out the flesh. Chop the flesh and set aside. Rub a little olive oil inside and outside the patty pans.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan, and add chopped flesh of the squash. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garbanzo beans, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for a few seconds. Stir in the cooked couscous. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over couscous. Remove from heat. Mix in all the other ingredients. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oven at 350 F. Fill the patty pans with the stuffing mix. Place their lids on top. Add a little water at the bottom of the dish. Bake for 15 -17 minutes or until patty pans are cooked through.
Serve with salad or as a starter.