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Mar 17, 2018
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Just Five: Abridged Calabacitas

March 20th 04:03pm, 2013

Southwest Diner is receiving no shortage of attention these days. Jonathan Jones and Anna Sidel’s little diner, located at 6803 Southwest Ave., is taking St. Louis by storm with their Southwestern-influenced breakfast and lunch items. I can be found there a few times a month for Jonathan’s Famous Fiery Scramble or a stack of the eatery’s amazing buttermilk cornmeal pancakes, and I don’t even like pancakes (true story). But my favorite item on the menu is calabacitas. Calabacitas is a traditional Southwestern side dish made from deceptively simple ingredients (Bookmark this recipe for July and August when your garden is throwing more squash and zucchini at you than you can handle.). The first time I ordered calabacitas was when I wanted some fruit as a side. The server suggested that I try the calabacitas instead. Never one to turn down a server’s suggestion (especially when she’s the owner’s mom), I accepted. While delicately sweet from the sauteed red onions, squash and corn, the real hero in this dish is green chiles, which pack a spicy punch – enough to take you by surprise but not make you weep. Jonathan was kind enough to share his recipe with me, which is, sadly, more than five ingredients, but it certainly gave me inspiration to create my own “abridged” version.

Abridged Calabacitas
Inspired by Jonathan Jones and Anna Sidel
Serves 4 (as a side dish)

1/3 cup chopped shallots
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow squash or zucchini (or a combination of both – but that would be cheating!)
1/3 cup roasted New Mexican green chiles, diced*
1/3 cup canned or frozen corn (or fresh, if in season)
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• Saute the shallots in 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
• Add the pieces of squash or zucchini, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until they start to soften.
• Add the chiles, corn and oregano, and saute for 1 to 2 more minutes.
• Add salt and pepper to taste.

The dish can be served both immediately or at room temperature.

* If you wish for a milder dish, you can use canned green chiles instead of fresh. Roasted poblano or Anaheim peppers can also be used if green chiles are unavailable.

By Dee Ryan

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