It looks simple, doesn't it?
It is simple to make (YAY!), and is also surprisingly delicious and satisfying (YAY! squared).
The star is the summer squash, which thanks to a quick blanch prior to the saute, is tender and delish - without a hint of squish. I'm pretty sure that the reason some people don't like squash is the sog factor. I feel you. Texture is a very important element to an appealing dish. Along with the squash being cooked properly, the caramelized garlic, toasted panko, and coconut rice come together in perfect harmony to support the sweet squash with roasty-toasty flavor and a bit of crunch.
(Serves Two as an Entree)
1T coconut oil
1/2C basmati rice
1/4t kosher salt
In a small (1 quart) saucepan, melt the coconut oil and stir in the rice and salt. Raise the heat to high, and add the water. Stir the rice as the water comes to a boil. Put a lid on it, lower the heat to super-low, and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, check the rice to see if all the water has been absorbed. Stir it with a fork. If it's still wet, cover it and cook for another 5 minutes (a heavy pot, like Le Creuset, can take longer than a stainless steel pot). If the rice looks done, turn off the heat and leave it covered until service.
In a medium pan, melt 1T butter on medium-high heat. Stir in 1/3C panko crumbs. Stir the crumbs as they brown in the butter. Do not walk away. They will become golden brown before you know it. Once they're done, spread the crumbs out on a plate to cool a bit.
OK...Now, the Squash
3, 3-4" summer squash, washed and left whole (do not trim off the ends)
1 large garlic clove, sliced thinly
1-2T olive oil
Boil about 6C of water. Gently drop in the whole squash and cook for about 1 minute on each side. Remove them from the pot and let them let off some steam as they await the frying pan.
Heat the pan from the panko on medium heat. Add the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute. Slice the summer squash into bite-sized wedges, and add them to the pan. Sear each side of the squash until golden. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in the toasted panko crumbs right before serving.
Serve the squash over the rice. Add a little freshly grated Parmigiano Reggaino if you wish.
**Note: Summer squash can be substituted with zucchini. Just be sure to keep the squash whole when blanching.