Crookneck squash is easily recognizable by its curved end. With creamy flesh and a mild, slightly sweet, buttery flavor, it's good grilled, broiled, sautéed or eaten raw. These sunny representatives of summer's bounty also are high in fiber and rich with protein; calcium; iron; vitamins A, B6 and C; and other nutrients.
New World origin
Various types of squash have been traced to Mexico and Central America as long ago as 8000 B.C. According to the New World Encyclopedia, the English word comes from the Narragansett Indians' askutasquash, meaning "a green thing eaten raw."
Where to find them
Victory Farms sells crooknecks at South of the James Market (it's best to get there early). You can find them at Farm to Family Market, Lakeside Farmers Market, Goochland Farmers Market and Forrest Green Farm. They're also available from Horse and Buggy Produce, a cooperative that delivers to Richmond on Thursdays.
Chilled Summer Crookneck Squash Soup
(Served with whipped Brie and chile oil)
Contributed by Walter Bundy, chef of Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel
- 1/2 pound of butter
- 2 Vidalia onions, core removed, roughly chopped
- 8 summer crookneck squash, stem and end cut off, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, deseeded, minced
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 1 bunch (large handful) of fresh garden marjoram, stem attached, tied with twine or wrapped in cheesecloth, with additional marjoram to use as a garnish
- 1 to 2 cups of milk
- Salt and white pepper
For whipped Brie:
- 1 pound of Brie cheese, rind removed
- 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- For chile oil:
- 1 pound of fresh hot peppers (serranos, jalapeños, habañeros or cayenne)
- 1 quart of grapeseed oil
To make the soup: Melt the butter over low to medium heat in a stainless steel pot and add the onions, squash, garlic and jalapeño. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the wine, water, heavy cream and the bundle of marjoram. Cover and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly, then purée it in a blender in small batches. Season with salt and pepper. When it's completely cool, whisk in the milk and adjust the seasoning.
Whipped Brie: Whip the cheese for about 10 minutes in a mixer on low to medium speed with a paddle attachment if possible, scraping the sides from time to time. Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream. When combined, whip the mixture on high for about one minute. Season it with salt and pepper.
Chile oil: Heat the oil and chopped peppers, seeds and all, over low heat in a nonreactive sauce pot. Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes, then let it cool. Place it in a container and refrigerate it. Strain the oil as needed through a fine meshed sieve.
To serve: Place a dollop of the whipped brie in the center of a soup bowl. Sprinkle fresh chopped marjoram over the cheese and drizzle the chile-infused oil around the Brie. Pour the chilled soup around the Brie and enjoy!