A few years ago I didn’t know what pattipans were. I got one of the weird spaceship-like things in a birthday basket and didn’t even recognize it as a squash. Now, it’s pattipandemonium at my house.
Pattipans are prolific summer squash with sweet, firm white flesh. They produce many fruits on compact plants so are great for gardens with limited space. The variety we grew this year was Bennings Green. The Fedco Seeds catalogue raves that it is “rated by many as the best-tasting summer squash, especially if picked small at 2–3″ diameter when they are especially fine-textured and tender.” (Several spellings are used: patty pan, pattypan, patti pan, and my favorite, pattipan.)
Since they are summer squash, they don’t have an especially long shelf life. They can be chopped or shredded and frozen to use later in soups and breads, but I like to see how many ways I can use them when they are still fresh before my family complains of overkill.
The other day, I boiled half a head of cauliflower, one large whole pattipan, and 3 Yukon gold potatoes, then made the best “mashed potatoes” ever. I didn’t even skin the pattipan or take out the seeds and everything became creamy and smooth with a hand masher.
Hard to believe there were leftovers of this dish, but there were. The next day, I added some steamed chopped kale (still producing since March!), some vegetable stock, a little whole milk, and heated it up. A quick run through with an immersion blender made a creamy, nutritious base to add some corn and peas for a delicious, creamy vegetable chowder.
Aside from being fun to grow, look at, and say, pattipans are sooo good for you. According to Livestrong.com:
“Pattypan squash is a heart-healthy vegetable, packed with vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium that offer cardio-protective effects. …One cup of cooked pattypan squash provides 38 calories and 43 percent of your daily value of Vitamin C, 13 percent of your daily value of folate, and substantial amounts of vitamin B-6, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin A.”
But wait, there’s more…
Tonight, pattipan fries were on the menu. I chopped up the biggest one into French fry stick shapes. When I cut off the scalloped edges, they so resembled little pudgy people that my daughters and I interrupted dinner prep to make little dolls.
Then I coated the sticks of squash with olive oil and roasted in a preheated oven at 475F for about 7 min per side. Sprinkled with a little salt and smoked paprika, these flew off the plate.
The other day at our roadside stand, a customer told me she makes zucchini “crab” cakes using breadcrumbs, shredded zucchini, and Old Bay seasoning. I found a recipe that sounded like hers here: Connie’s Zucchini “Crab” Cakes . I think that “crab” pattipan-cakes will be a delicious new experiment.
I’ll keep you pattiposted.