A member of the squash family, and sometimes known as the custard squash, patty pans are small, round vegetables with curvy edges about 6-8cm across. Their appearance is similar to a slightly flattened fluted brioche. They can be white, yellow or green in appearance and have a small stalk. Look for small, firm patty pans - they should feel heavy for their size. Waitrose stock baby patty pans.
Uses: Patty pans can be baked, sliced and fried in butter or eaten raw in salads.
To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To prepare: Patty pans do not need to be peeled - trim the ends off and either cook whole or slice into rounds. Wash thoroughly before use.
To cook: Cook whole patty pan in boiling water or steam for 3-5 minutes, depending on size, until tender. Fry patty pan slices for 3-5 minutes until tender. Toss in lemon juice and butter and season with black pepper before serving. To roast, heat a little olive oil in a roasting tin in a preheated oven at 200(C, gas mark 6. Add the whole patty pans and a selection of prepared and sliced vegetables such as yellow pepper, red onion and aubergine. Toss the vegetables to mix, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with a little dried rosemary and cook for 35-45 minutes or until tender.