Last week, at a Japanese cooking class for soon-to-be English teachers that I was helping with, I declared to my rapt audience that enoki mushrooms, with their slender stems and pinky nail-sized button tops, were the cutest vegetable I've ever seen. They snickered. I wasn't joking.
But now I've found another contender for that title -- pattypan squash. See how six of them fit in the cradle of my black ladle in the picture? Too cute. To drive home my point, here is another picture of wee squash.
Before buying them at the Metro Hall farmer's market, I asked the saleswoman how to cook them. She told me a few ways, then added as an afterthought that they also tasted good raw with dip.
As the squash seemed too cute to cook, I sliced off their stems, washed them and served them whole with a red pepper hummus dip (all the while thinking how great they would look on a vegetable platter at a party).
The taste is crisp and light, much like zucchini. But I think, in the end, their cute factor outweighs taste. It's the same problem I have with enoki, which I'm not actually a fan of except sparingly and prettily displayed in miso soup.
Since I wasn't too impressed with raw pattypan, I may give a few other recipes a whirl. I found websites that suggest, steaming them, roasting them whole or halved with oil and salt or sauteeing them in slices.
Or maybe I'll just put them on display in my ladle.