Many think that Southerners prefer their vegetables smothered in butter, cream, and cheese. That especially holds true for yellow squash, which more often than not is at the center of the classic squash casserole. While we love the squash itself, it is the creamy sauce (made from cheese, mayonnaise, and eggs) and crunchy, buttery crack topping that keeps us coming back for seconds. Squash casserole is a staple dish found at meat-and-three diners and at church covered-dish suppers. It can stand on its own as a vegetarian main dish, but also pairs well with just about any protein (fried chicken is a traditional partner). To make the absolute best squash casserole, it’s important to get as much liquid out of the squash during the initial cooking process as possible to prevent a watery casserole. When sautéing, stir the squash often to release steam and prevent browning. Don’t overcook it, which will cause the casserole to be mushy – remember the squash still has to be baked. Gently fold the squash into the egg-cheese mixture to avoid mashing and breaking it into small pieces. Straining the squash helps to remove excess water that leaches out of the cooked squash, and it cools the squash before it is added to the casserole.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 pounds yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick (from 5 medium squash)
2 sleeves round buttery crackers (such as Ritz), coarsely crushed
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add squash, onion, and 1 teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring often, until center of squash is just tender and liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a colander set over a bowl. Drain 5 minutes; discard any liquid.
Stir together eggs, sour cream, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses, mayonnaise, thyme, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Gently fold in squash mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch (2-quart) baking dish.
Microwave remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium-size microwavable bowl on HIGH until melted, about 25 seconds. Toss together crackers, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter until combined; sprinkle over casserole. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.