Summer Squash Relish

My very nice friend Brenda gave me a big pile of yellow summer squash the other day.  Technically, her son Ethan is the gardener, and you should see the gigantic vegetable garden this teenage boy works and manages!

I always plant yellow squash and zucchini in my garden, but too often I get squash vine borer, or powdery mildew, or in the case of this year, a bunch of male flowers with no females producing the fruit.  Sexist plants.

Summer squash isn't my favorite raw vegetable.  But I do love it oven roasted, or stuffed and baked, or pureed in soup - yummy stuff!  Oven roasting makes everything better, and I'm pretty sure I've said that a couple times before.

For this "relish" I cut the vegetables into chunks, not dice.  You can really use any combination of ingredients you prefer or that you have in abundance.  Today I used a bunch of the yellow squash, some red bell pepper and purple onion, adding fresh garlic and chopped cilantro when it came out of the oven.  This is good served fresh and hot, but it does nicely in the refrigerator and then served at room temperature.

It's pretty basic!  Start with a few not-too-big summer squash, a whole red bell pepper, about half of a purple onion, all cut into bite sized chunks.  Give it a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Roast it on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven at 400 for about 30-40 minutes, or until some of it is golden brown and it smells good.  That's a technical term, see.

Let it cool for a while, then put it in a large bowl and add fresh chopped garlic (one clove),  a big handful of chopped fresh cilantro, the juice of half a lemon, and more salt and pepper to taste.  If you want a bit of heat, a big or little pinch of red pepper flakes would be good, or a finely diced jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed.

Before you serve it, give it another stir and taste for seasoning.  I'd serve this on top of grilled meat of any kind, or on a burger, or just as a side to other summery food!