Even if the thermometer seems to disagree, fall is officially here. For Florida agriculture, that means our squash crops are ready for harvest. We love locally sourced produce so when you are shopping at our Farmer’s Market, you will start seeing this fruit appear more. Let’s talk about a few things you can make with Florida squash from the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Vegetable or Fruit?
First, a quick word about squash. Often, it is thought of as a vegetable, but it is actually a fruit. This is because it grows from flowers and has seeds. Aside from being delicious and versatile, squash is high in fiber, vitamins C and B6, beta-carotene, and important minerals such as potassium and magnesium. At the same time, it’s low in calories and carbs.
Honey and Orange Glazed Grouper
Pairing Florida grouper with Florida agriculture is a winning combo! Here’s how:
· 4 (6-ounce) Florida grouper fillets
· 1 Florida zucchini, diced small
· 1 Florida squash, diced small
· 1 Florida bell pepper, julienned
· 1 cup Florida orange juice
· 1 tablespoon Florida orange blossom honey
· 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
· 1 tablespoon soy sauce
· 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
· 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
· 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
· 1 lemon, juiced
· Oil for cooking
· Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
In a small pot, over medium-high heat, combine orange juice, honey, marmalade, soy sauce, and mustard. Bring to a boil and reduce by half, creating a thick sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat, add butter and 1 tablespoon oil. Season fillets with salt and pepper, brush each side with orange sauce, and sear for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
Wipe out the same pan and reheat over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add vegetables and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Stir in fresh thyme and lemon juice. Serve warm with grouper that you can also find in the seafood department of our farmer’s market.
Florida Squash and Zucchini Ricotta Rollups
This dish can be served both as a vegetarian option or with some meat. You get to choose.
· 2 large Florida zucchini or yellow squash, sliced thin lengthwise
· 1 cup ricotta cheese
· 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
· 2 cups marinara sauce (your favorite, meatless or with meat)
· 2 egg yolks
· 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix
· ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
· ¼ cup fresh basil, hand torn
· Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1) Lay out all the zucchini and yellow squash slices on paper towels. Lightly sprinkle each side of the sliced zucchini and squash with sea salt. Let the salted slices sit for about 20 minutes.
2) After 20 minutes use another paper towel to soak up any liquid from the vegetables. In a small bowl combine the egg yolk, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and Italian seasoning. Season the cheese mixture lightly with salt and pepper.
3) Spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture on one side of each vegetable slice. Roll each slice up carefully and place seam side down in a baking dish. Evenly add marinara sauce to the top of the vegetable rollups.
4) Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Top with hand-torn basil, and serve warm.
Florida Beef and Vegetable Meatballs
This makes delicious and versatile meatballs that can be served as the main food or to complement another prepared with ingredients from our Farmer’s Market.
Tip: Double the recipe to use the already cooked meatballs to easily make other yummy dishes!
· 1 pound Florida lean ground beef
· 1 cup Florida yellow squash, grated fine
· 1 cup Florida zucchini, grated fine
· 1 cup Florida mushroom, chopped fine
· 1 cup Florida carrot, shredded fine
· 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
· 1 egg
· ½ cup milk
· 1 tablespoon of all-purpose seasoning (your favorite)
· ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
· Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
· Vegetable oil for cooking
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, seasoning blend and panko. Stir until well combined. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir the mixture again. Add the ground beef and vegetables to the breadcrumb mixture. Continue to mix the beef with all the ingredients, until everything is uniformly incorporated.
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Roll the beef mixture into golf ball-sized or smaller meatballs. Working in batches and making sure not to overcrowd the pan, cook the meatballs in a small amount of vegetable oil. The meatballs need to reach an internal temperature of 165 to be completely done. Continue to cook meatballs in a sauté pan until they are browned all over. Place meatballs on a sheet pan and put into the oven until completely done.
Serve meatballs warm with extra-grated parmesan cheese.
Your Local Farmer’s Market
At Farmer Joe’s Farmer’s Market, we use fresh Florida products whenever we can. Sourcing and shopping locally helps build our communities stronger. It helps our economies and our environment. Come in and see the difference.