Cooking with Zucchini
Zucchini is technically a fruit but we typically use it to make savory dishes. It is sometimes called a courgette. The name comes from Italy and means ‘small pumpkin.’ Zucchini is very versatile and works great in many dishes ranging from gratins to stir fries, fritters, omelets, breads, salads and more. You can even stuff and cook the blossoms.
One plant can produce numerous zucchinis every week hence its reputation for being so prolific. And if you happen to miss one hidden in the vines, the next thing you know, it might be a foot long! They are best eaten when small to medium but if they do get large, simply scoop out the seeds and use the flesh.
Here are a few ways you can use this wonderful summer vegetable.
Raw Corn Zucchini Salad
From Martha Stewart
3 ears corn, husks and silks removed
2 medium zucchini, diced small
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Sea salt and ground pepper
Stand corn in a wide, shallow bowl. With a sharp knife, slice downward to cut off kernels. Add zucchini, lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper and toss well to combine.
Salmon and Zucchini in Parchment
2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
2 lemon slices, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
sea salt and pepper
2 salmon fillets
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rip off 2 pieces of parchment each about 12-inches long. Fold pieces in half to crease; open and lay flat. On one side of crease, place zucchini; top with shallot, butter and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Place salmon on top; drizzle with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and lay on lemon slices. To close, fold parchment over salmon; make small overlapping pleats to seal the open sides and create a half-moon-shaped packet. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and carefully open packages to release steam before serving.
2 cups packed, shredded zucchini, extra liquid squeezed out
3 tablespoons onion, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
oil for frying
Combine all ingredients in a bowl except oil. Heat oil in a large skillet and drop rounded tablespoons zucchini mixture in hot oil and spread around to make a small pancake. Fry over medium-high heat until edges begin to brown. Carefully flip and cook until browned on the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Keep fritters warm on a cookie sheet in the oven at around 250 degrees. Serve warm with sour cream or plain Greek-style yogurt.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
From "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine egg and butter and beat until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar, honey and vanilla and beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Slowly integrate dry ingredients into wet, until well combined, with beater or by hand. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.
Drop by spoonfuls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees, 10-15 minutes.
Makes about 4 dozen.
Zucchini Ground Beef Quinoa Skillet
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup quinoa
2 heaping cups diced zucchini
grated mozzarella cheese
chopped fresh basil
Brown the ground beef and onion in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Stir in broth, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa and zucchini, return to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat about 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve sprinkled with mozzarella and fresh basil sprinkled on top.