Classic Squash Casserole: This classic Southern-style squash casserole recipe is the one you’re always looking for. It’s got yellow squash, cheese, and eggs, and is covered with a buttery cracker crumb topping.
Farmers and grocers are currently awash in squash — and the mounds of veg are only going to continue to grow as we enter the height of summer. Hopefully you’ve already gotten your hands on some and grilled it, made gratin, or packed it into quick bread. So for your next summer side, consider taking a cue from the South and making a cheesy summer squash casserole.
Squash casserole is a classic meat-and-three side dish that binds mild summer squash with a creamy cheddar sauce — and did I mention the whole thing is topped with a buttery cracker topping? Here’s how to make this Southern staple a classic in your house.
How to Choose the Best Summer Squash
By now we’re used to seeing zucchini and yellow squash year-round in the grocery store, but the summer months are when these vegetables are at their finest. Summer squash has a thinner skin than their winter kin, so there’s no need to peel them before adding them to a dish. Handle the squash gently and look for squash that have no blemishes or soft spots. Choose slender, uniformly sized squash for best flavor and smaller seeds. While you can use any fresh summer squash in this casserole, yellow squash is traditional.
The Very Best Way to Prep Squash for Casseroles
The flesh of summer squash is cream-colored with a mild flavor, and packed with water. Par-cooking the squash makes the vegetable more tender and also removes some of the excess moisture that could otherwise result in a water-logged casserole.
To do so, quarter and slice the squash to expose more surface area, then sauté with another southern staple, the sweet Vidalia onion (Walla Walla or another sweet onion can be substituted) until tender but not browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the squash and onions, and discard the excess water left in the skillet.
What Ingredients Do I Need for Summer Squash Casserole?
Fresh in-season squash is the star of Southern-style casserole, and it’s baked with just the right amount of egg and cheese to bind it together. Whisk mayonnaise (any good southern recipe calls for Duke’s), a pair of eggs, heavy cream, and cayenne pepper together until smooth. Stir in some shredded cheddar cheese to build a creamy sauce, then add the sautéed squash and onion. Scatter more cheese over the squash mixture, then add butter-toasted Ritz crackers for a crispy, cheesy topping. The result is a browned and bubbly baked squash casserole that is the perfect accompaniment to any summer menu.
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