pan-fried pattypan squash with corn on the cob

August 31, 2016 • Nancy Wolfson-Moche

How can I get my children excited about eating more vegetables? One way is to present a sculptural, one-of-a-kind variety of squash that resembles a scalloped flying saucer that they have never before tasted.  These pattypans taste like zucchini or yellow squash and are cucurbits, members of the same botanical family as cucumbers and watermelon. Paired with local just-picked corn on the cob, this is a wholly satisfying seasonal late-summer breakfast.


Serves 2



2 patty pan squash

2-4 ears of corn

2 Tablespoons algae oil  


2 sprigs parsley

2 basil leaves (optional)

1 Tablespoon + a pinch coarse sea salt

Process                                                                                                                                                                  First, get the corn cooking. I learned a new surefire way to boil corn with the husk on.  Yup, this just in from Sarah Freund, a third-generation farmer from East Canaan, Ct: cooking the corn with the husk intact makes it easier to, um, husk, and keeps the kernels tender and crisp.  It’s actually hard to mess up a good, sweet ear of corn using this cooking method. Fill a large, sturdy corn or stock pot with water. Add a tablespoon of coarse sea salt and heat it on a high flame. While the water is a-boilin’, cut the bottom (this is the knobby end where the cob was connected to the corn stalk) off of each ear. You end up cutting off about 2-3 inches, enough so the wheel of corn kernels is visible.


When the water comes to a roiling boil (when active bubbles abound) drop the ears of corn into the pot. Sarah says to cook them “until the smell of cooked sweet corn infuses the kitchen,” or about 12-15 minutes.


Now, while the corn is boiling, cook the pattypan.  Rinse them and use a good vegetable knife to slice each one in half, widthwise. It is as if you are slicing each one create a sandwich. Trim tops or bottoms if desired.

Heat a medium-sized stainless steel or cast-iron skillet for about 30 seconds, until it is warm. Add the algae oil, (a new low-in-saturated-fat oil with a high smoke point) and swill it around in the pan, heating it up for another 30 seconds or one minute.  Now place the 4 halves of patty pan squash, flat, flesh-side down, so the dome-shaped sides are face-up in the pan.

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Chop the parsley and basil (if using) into tiny pieces and sprinkle it on top of the squash. When the flat/flesh sides of the squash are browned but not burnt, flip them over and cook the skin-side so it is browned and tender.  Plate the squash and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. When the corn smells ready, remove it from the pot. Leave the husk on until you’re ready to eat it — the husk will keep the kernels warm. When you’re ready, remove the husk, which should fall away easily.

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Place the corn on the plate with the squash.




©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2016


Icing on the Cake: Testimonials

I loved Ms. Nancy’s cooking class so much.! I have been in this cooking class for two years and I would love to sign up for another one. I tried a lot of new foods like winter squash, cardamom, Brussels sprouts and kale. My favorite salad was the kiwi, carrot, radish salad.
Not only did we cook and eat, we also did labs about food. We used rulers to measure the size of plants. We also explored stone fruits and their ripe season. Now in my house we have window boxes and I am growing cherry tomatoes and basil.
I learned that we can use a lot of different tools to cook, not just our hands and senses. We used safety knives, potato peelers and a carrot sharpener (I wonder if you could sharpen a pencil with it?) !!!
Because of this class I can help papi make dinner and I will try any new food at least once to see if I like it. Thank you, Ms. Nancy for making cooking fun and interesting and helping me be excited about food.

- Love, K (a 7-year-old boy).