As the seasons shift, so do my eating and cooking habits. Some days I don’t cook at all–relying on smoothies, salads, and chilled soups for sustenance. The “Big Oven” gets the summer off, unless there’s a cake or cookie or entree I just can’t force bake in the toaster oven. With the summer equinox fast approaching, I’d begin to notice the reappearance of gorgeous yellow squashes at the farmer’s markets. Last week, I grabbed a couple, figuring I’d grill them or eat them raw (I like to dip them in hummus). But they sat there for a day or so, beautiful yet uninspiring. Until I read a post on zucchini kuku by my amiga over at My Persian Kitchen.
Kuku, you ask? Why yes, it’s an Iranian omelette that’s a perfect marriage of veggies, spices, and convenience. It’s sort of a cross between a frittata and a souffle. Without, of course, the souffle drama. Because you know that in the kitchen, I do not do drama. Well, at least not deliberately 😉 I figure there’s enough inherent drama and suspense in cooking and baking as it is.
As for kuku, it’s the perfect summer dish, because it travels well and tastes great hot, warm, or even cold. It’s filling but not heavy. You can bake it in the oven, or cook it on the stovetop. This time, I used my toaster oven, which worked perfectly and kept the Big Oven out of play, and from heating the house.
So I decided to base my efforts on the recipe from My Persian Kitchen, but with my yellow squash rather than zucchini. And as I was tinkering around in the kitchen, I noticed a lone sweet potato, left over from the colder months, sitting there kind of looking sad. “I wonder if that grating that sweet potato and using it in this kuku would taste good. I bet it would.”
So that’s exactly what I did, and in the process, found a new dish to love. A dish that perfectly straddles the shift between spring and summer, and could easily straddle the shift between summer and fall, for that matter.
Kuku (Iranian Omelette) with Summer Squash and Sweet Potato
2 teaspoons cooking fat of choice (netural oil, ghee, butter, butter substitute, etc)
1 onion, medium dice
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
2 summer squash, grated (no more than a pound of squash before grating)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Add cooking fat to a cold skillet (skillet I used was an 8-inch cast iron skillet by Lodge). Heat over medium low.
3. Add in the onions and saute, stirring often, until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add turmeric and garlic to onions and saute for another minute or so.
4. Add in the grated squash and sweet potato. Add salt and pepper and mix. Cook until softened and the moisture is absorbed.
5. As the vegetables are cooking, whisk the eggs and baking soda together with either a hand whisk or a fork. If you desire a more yellow color for the egg mixture, add another pinch of turmeric and stir well.
6. Allow the veggie mixture to drain and cool (I used a colander and a bowl to catch the drips underneath, plus patted the mixture several times with a kitchen towel to further push out excess moisture).
7. Clean out the skillet, regrease with cooking fat or cooking spray of choice. In a large bowl, mix together veggie mixture and eggs, then pour it all into the skillet. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes (my kuku was done at 25 minutes, but your mileage may vary due to variation in the moisture of the mix). You’ll know it’s done when a knife or fork inserted into the center comes out clean.