Monday, July 23, 2007

Pâtisson, or Pattypan Squash

In the early morning, two small white pâtisson squash await demurely for their luscious treatment, alongside a miniature head of cabbage just begging to be turned into slaw.

As summer rolls on, sweet thoughts of stuffing for young pâtissons come to mind while they are small and soft. We like to stuff just about any kind of squash, but this kind are so pretty, they always make a nice addition to the summer table. Brigitte, my mother-in-law who is a real southerner, stuffs big platters of vegetables in the local style of Provence and bakes them early in the morning on summer days before it gets too hot. She merely heats them up for a meal with family and friends, without even coming close to breaking a sweat while we dine on her terrace with lots of ice-cold rosé wine. She serves up a generous simple salad followed by the cheese plate, and whatever frozen dessert she has concocted. The cicadas hum, lizards bathe, the sun warms the stones, and we slowly take in the goodness from Brigittes market basket watching the breeze from the sea nearby flutter the canopy. While we are considering whether to ride our bikes down to that really sunny stretch of beach in Hyeres, she's already deciding what to do for the next day. She takes the treck to Toulon in the mornings and hits the market there, with a list of errands that includes dropping in on Mami D, her mother, who lives in a house on the hill in town overlooking the bay, just near the market.

Brigitte usually does what the French call the sun vegetables, or legumes du soleil, tomatoes, peppers, zuchinni, and sometimes onions, but I bet she would appreciate the way we honor her tradition by preparing her simple aromatic herb and slow cooked garlic seasoned house stuffing to go into the little pattipan squash. I think I will do just that as we look forward to our next visit with her.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

AH les beaux patissons. As I had two friends over for dinner last night (they are French but lived in the US for a long time), we made a comment about how many more varieties of squash we have here in the US -- I had roasted mini yellow squashes, just looking like patissons. I actually do not know anymore if it is true we have more here, perhaps so, at least easy to find, but one thing for sure, I love to have them!

2:31 PM, July 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good for the soul to visit this site. You see, it has been very grey and miserable for days where I live so this morning I paid a mental visit to your MIL's lovely terrace. The tones were indeed warm under foot and the food and wine were excellent. I am refreshed.

4:06 PM, July 23, 2007  
Blogger Mercedes said...

I just bought a head of cabbage that looks just like that. I hadn't decided what to do with it, but now I know- coleslaw here I come!

1:39 AM, July 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would love to know what the Provencal style of stuffing veggies is. What do you stuff them with? Thank you!

2:07 PM, August 08, 2007  

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