Pattypan, stuffed

They look like inflatable flying saucers, they’ve got a cutesy name that makes me twitch whenever I say it, and they taste of nothing. Really nothing. Pattypan (twitch) are a summer squash just like the courgette but they even manage to underperform the humble courgette on flavour.

Although that flying saucer shape is pretty cool.

To be honest I don’t think I’d ever buy one, even for the shape. I’d go for courgettes every time. But a squadron have landed in my brother’s veg plot and I can’t stand to see anything go to waste if I can possibly cook it in time.

It seems that everyone agrees these aliens are only good for one thing – stuffing and baking. Which makes sense; their flesh being firm, juicy and flavourless you need a bit of something tasty along with every mouthful. Bacon is of course the third condiment, after salt and pepper, so I started with a couple of rashers and checked what else was lying around…

Stuffed Pattypan (twitch)

This was for 2 pattypans, a good lunch for two

  1. Steam your pattypans (twitch) for ten minutes to get them cooking, or boil in an inch of water if you don’t have a steamer
  2. Cut the top with the stem off, just like you would a pumpkin, and scoop out the seeds; they’re even more useless than the flesh, so ditch ’em. Scoop some flesh out too and set it aside, but don’t go too mad with the scooping; the skin is much thinner than a pumpkin and I suspect the whole thing will collapse if it doesn’t have a good thickness of flesh left to keep it solid
  3. For my stuffing I first fried up a couple of rashers of streaky bacon until crispy. The secret to crispy bacon is frying on a looooow hob, leave them gently sizzling in their own fat until all their white bits have gone brown. If you fry bacon at high temperature parts will burn before other parts are brown
  4. Bacon done, I sautéed chopped onion and celery (thanks, bro’s veg patch) for a bit in the bacon fat and added finely chopped chilli and garlic. Use whatever quantity you feel comfy with.
  5. Add the chopped pattypan (twitch!) flesh and do a bit more gentle sizzling
  6. Season your sauté (that’s salt, pepper and the bacon chopped into little bits) and add a handful of breadcrumbs, that’s the cooking done. Finally throw in a good handful of grated cheeses, on this occasion it was a mix of parmesan, gruyere and cheddar as they were all down to their heels
  7. This mixture now gets stuffed back into the (twitch) and the tops put back on because it looks cuter that way
  8. You want to roast them in an oven at about 180C. I rubbed olive oil over the skin first, which just helps it to brown rather than blacken if it is in the oven a bit long. It could probably stay in there for ages, but about 20-25 minutes should be fine. Basically, don’t let them blacken.
  9. Grind some pepper on top and serve with whatever bits of salad you see fit

Outside in the garden more flying saucers are swelling on the stem as we speak, so this recipe is likely to be recurring with variations very soon.