Summer Time And The Livin’s Zucchini

Yes, folks. those of us in the northern  climes are just starting to experience our annual influx/overflow of fresh, locally grown Zucchini. The Eternal Question echoes all across the land: “What am I supposed to do with all these summer Squashes?” Well, I have some really good answers…

Zuccini Boats - © nichelleleychefd.wordpress.comBeautiful, Cheesy Baked Zucchini Boats. One of my go-to dishes in Zucchini Season!

Creative Italian classics and new ideas

The Italian kitchen culture has perhaps the world’s greatest store of recipes that will help you get rid of all that Zucchini – in the nicest possible way…

Zucchini Salad: Thinly slices Zucchini marinated in an Italian dressing. Don’t forget the Garlic! And add other Salad ingredients  to suit your taste…

Stuffed Zucchini Boats: Cut a medium sized Zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the innards. Dice the Zucchini pulp into half-inch squares and fry fast at medium temp in Olive Oil. Add a chopped clove of Garlic and toss. Place back in  Zucchini shells, pour some Marinara sauce over top and crown with lots of Mozzarella Cheese and Bread Crumbs. At 375 F until the cheese bubbles and starts to turn brown .

Zucchini Pizza: A great snack or Vegetarian main. Use rounds cut from small Zucchinis in place of Tomato and Pepperoni slices. Place on a bed of Sauce covered with grated Mozzarell, Cover with a sprinkle more of Cheese followed by medium-diced Red Peppers and Onion, and finally, sliced Olives. Tip with more Mozz and a nice snowfall of Grated Parm or Romano and bake at 375 F until the cheese on top us bubbling and begins to brown. That should take about 30-40 minutes.

Pasta with Zucchiuni Sauce: There are two ways toi go. First, you can Simmer diced Zucchini in Marinara sauce, with or without meat and serve just like that on the Pasta of your choice. Or, you can sauté diced or julienned Zucchini in Olive Oil with a little Garlic, Salt and Pepper and toss with your fave Pasta, Both are quick, easy tasty and filling!

Zucchini Sticks: This is a bar food favourite and about the only thing bad you can say about it is, it’s fried – even deep fried. But don’t let that deter you. The trick is to fry in  a high-temperature oil and prepare the pan properly. First, using a standard breading set-up, Bread 1/2 to 3/4 in. / 1.5 to 2 cm thick Zucchini Sticks in Flour, Egg and Crumbs. Be sure to dry your Zucchini Sticks on paper towels first, to ensure that the batter sticks. Heat your pan to medium high before adding any oil. When the pan is hot, add a tablespoon / 15 ml of Canola Oil and then a tablespoon / 15 ml of Olive Oil. Straight Olive Oil will burn at higher temperatures. Fry the Breaded Zucchini Sticks in all sides until the coating is golden brown and drain on paper towels.

But there are many, many more Zucchini recipes out there!

Zucchini Pickle: This is an old favourite in a number of cuisines, no doubt created to help use up a Zucchini bounty. Many, many recipes on the Web!

Zucchini Bake: Just like an Eggplant casserole, really, with layers of Eggplant and Tomato and Marinara Sauce and lots of Mozzarella Cheese on top. Bake at 375 F until bubbly and Golden on top.

Creamy Zucchini Casserole: This one is built somewhat like the Bake, above. But Start with a rich Bechamel-based Cheese Sauce and layer Zucchini rounds, Onions and Sauce. You can make it a faux-Lasagna if you add layers of Noodles after each layer of Sauce. Whichever method you choose, finish off with a layer of Mozz topped with grated Parm or Romano. Bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes.

Zucchini ‘Spaghetti’: Remember that Spiralizer you spent all that money on, the one that now lives in the back of the cupboard under the sink? Get it out and make a mountain of squirrelly, twirly Zucchini Spaghetti. Fry for a few minutes on medium heat in a little Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, until just tender, then toss with the  sauce of your choice. It’s a great way to go low-carb and get more veggies in your diet, and the Zucchini flavour goes with anything you’re likely to put on top.

Don’t forget Zucchini Bread and Muffins, Zucchini Fritters and Zucchini Hash Browns!

You can also make Zucchini Jam, Zucchini Sliders (with a slice of Fried Zucchini instead of the meat), Zucchini Martinis and much, much more. Let your imagination be your guide…

~ Maggie J.

Posted under: Chef Secrets, Comfort Food, Foodie Life Lessons

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