Two words in the seafood recipe submitted by Rachel Virden for the Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook Contest caught our eye immediately: Summer and Squash.
Yes, we loved the combination of shrimp and sausage (who wouldn’t?) and the intensely savory flavor that only comes from sautéing with bacon fat. We were amazed by the way a few simple ingredients baked up into such a rich and satisfying dish. But what made us really happy was discovering a new, inventive way cook up summer’s seemingly endless bounty of squash.
If you have a garden, you know that varieties of summer squash are famously prolific. This time of year, farmers’ markets are also overflowing with zucchini, crookneck and pattypan squash. Just when you think you’ve prepared summer squash in every possible way, a recipe like Shrimp, Sausage and Summer Squash Casserole comes along that transforms a simple crookneck into a rich, flavorful meal.
As you begin cooking, the shrimp, sausage and squash seem like three separate ingredients in the pot. But when you spoon the trio into a pan and bake for 30 minutes, the three meld together into a voluptuous casserole with a buttery texture and rich, meaty flavor.
As much as we loved the shrimp in this recipe, we can imagine that other types of seafood, like salmon or halibut, could be substituted with equally delicious results. However you make it, Rachel’s casserole is a one-dish meal that will make you glad summer, along with its endless supply of squash, is not quite over yet.
- 4-5 pounds yellow crookneck squash (or zucchini), sliced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 slices bacon, chopped into pieces
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage (spicy or regular)
- 1 pound raw shrimp (peeled/deveined/tails off), chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 eggs
- Butter, if needed for sautéing
- Optional seasonings: salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning or hot sauce, Parmesan cheese
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook the bacon and sausage together in a large soup pot or other deep pot. When fat begins to render, add the onion. Sauté until bacon is slightly crispy, sausage is crumbled and cooked and onion is soft.
Add the sliced squash (it may be easiest to add it in several batches) and stir to coat with meat and rendered fat. Turn the heat to high. This is necessary to quickly cook off any moisture the squash releases so that the squash can brown and caramelize, rather than “boil” in its own water. If the sausage and bacon have not rendered enough fat to cook the squash, then add some butter to the pot. The squash is done once it is slightly browned and there is no liquid sitting in the pot. By this time, the squash will have reduced by about half. Season with your choice of salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and/or hot sauce.
Remove the pot from the stove and let it cool slightly.
Beat the eggs in a small bowl and pour over the squash mixture.
Add the raw shrimp and 1-2 handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese (optional).
Stir to combine all ingredients then pour into a casserole dish.
If you like, top the dish with a few pats of butter or a sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly, approx. 30 minutes.
(It is important to not cook the shrimp prior to baking the casserole. The shrimp will get overcooked and rubbery if you do.) Enjoy!
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