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City Palate Recipe: 3 quick ways with green beans

7 Quick Ways with Zucchini

Sept/Oct 2010

Remember when everyone grew zucchini in their gardens and, at the end of the season, you couldn’t eat it fast enough, you couldn’t give it away, and the last of the bounty of the garden had grown to be football size? Does everyone still grow way too much zucchini? If you do, and you still can’t give it away, here are some fresh ideas about what to do with that endless summer vegetable. (You will, of course, have used the zucchini blossoms to stuff and fry or bake for dinner earlier in the season when they were fulsome... hmmmmm?)

1. Zucchine Farcite

Stuffed zucchini from Contorni, by Susan Simon. Cut 4 medium zucchini (about 1-1/2 lbs.) in half lengthwise. Scoop out the centre, leaving a 1/4” shell. Finely chop the pulp together with 1 small onion. Cook the zucchini and onion in a skillet with olive oil 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 lb. plum tomatoes, chopped, and 1/4 c. each of chopped flat-leaf parsley and basil. Cook until the mixture is soft, then put in a bowl to cool. Add 1/4 c. dry bread crumbs, 1/2 c. grated pecorino, romano or other hard, sharp cheese, 2 eggs, lightly beaten, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill the zucchini halves with the zucchini mixture and place on a greased baking dish. Bake until the tops of the zucchini have formed a golden crust, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp. Serve with grilled meat or fish. Serves 4 to 8.

2. Gingered Zucchini Marmalade

From Calgary chef Michael Allemeier. Dice 2-1/4 lbs. zucchini and toss it into a stainless steel pot. Add the zest of 2 lemons and 2 oranges, thinly slivered. Peel the white citrus pith off the fruit and put it into a piece of cheesecloth along with a 3-inch piece of gingerroot, finely chopped or grated. Tie the cheesecloth to make a bag. Purée 1 apple, quartered and cored, with the peeled lemons and oranges and add to the zucchini in the pot along with
4-1/2 c. sugar. Put the cheesecloth bag in the pot too. Bring to a boil, stirring well. Reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes until thickened. Remove the bag. Purée the marmalade and set aside to cool until it firms up. Serve with shrimp or crab cakes or grilled meats. Makes about 2 cups.

3. Summer Squash with Garlic and Herbs

From Chez Panisse Vegetables. Choose a mixture of fresh squash, including zucchini, yellow crookneck and little pattypan squash. Trim and slice or cut into julienne. Sauté in olive oil until tender and just beginning to brown. Add a generous amount of freshly chopped garlic and basil or marjoram. Season with salt and pepper. Cook a bit more until the garlic releases its aroma; squeeze lemon juice over and serve.

4. Veggie Stacks

Adapted from a recipe in A Year of the Best, from the Best of Bridge ladies and Calgary chef Vincent Parkinson. Assemble the stacks on a cookie sheet. For each stack, you will need a 1/4-inch slice from a large zucchini (the original recipe calls for eggplant or portobello mushroom), 1/4-inch slice of red onion, 1/4-inch slice of bocconcini cheese, 1/4-inch slice of fresh tomato, layered in order on top of each other and finished with grated asiago cheese. Bake in a preheated 375°F. oven about 20 minutes, until the cheese melts and the vegetables soften. Cook as many stacks as you want per person. Serve with roast beef or steak.

5. Zucchini Pasta

From Donna Hay’s Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry. Cook 14 oz. spaghetti or linguine until al dente, then drain and keep warm. Heat 2 T. olive oil over high heat in a frying pan, then add 2 seeded and minced red chiles and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Cook for 2 minutes, then add 3 grated zucchini to the pan and cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Toss with the pasta and serve sprinkled with cracked black pepper, sea salt and shaved parmesan. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

6. Zucchini Cheese Pie

From Winners by The Best of Bridge ladies. Mix 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese with 3 c. shredded zucchini, 1 c. biscuit mix, 1/2 c. veg oil and 1 T. chopped parsley. Beat 4 eggs with salt and pepper to taste and stir into the zucchini cheese mixture. Pour into a 9-inch pie pan and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 40 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with a green salad. Serves 6 to 8.

7. Three Sisters Soccotash Salad

Abbreviated from a recipe in the clever Kitchen Scraps by Calgary’s Pierre Lamielle. The three inseparable garden sisters are corn, beans and squash. Create a tasty vinaigrette with Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, vinegar and olive oil. Set it aside. Grill 2 ears of Taber corn and remove the kernels. Rinse 1 c. canned lima beans and drain thoroughly. Toss the beans in a little vinaigrette to marinate for 1 hour. Trim the ends from 4 small to medium zucchini and, using a vegetable peeler, peel long ribbons of zucchini from top to bottom, avoiding the seeds in the centre. Pile the ribbons in a big serving bowl and drizzle with enough dressing just to coat. Toss gently with your fingertips to separate the ribbons so they pile up nice and high. To serve, sprinkle the zucchini ribbons with the lima beans and grilled corn. Add, for colour and flavour, if you wish, grated carrot, diced red bell pepper, freshly chopped herbs, like mint, basil or chives. Drizzle well with more dressing and eat in the garden with your sisters, a good baguette and a crisp white wine.