Zucchini - © newstaco.com

Zucchini Season: Classic And Clever Ways to Enjoy Them

If it’s not Zucchini season where you live, it will be soon. And I thought it would be fun to review some classic Zucchini recipes to get you started using the king of summer squash! And I’ve also compiled a list of tips for handling and prepping the Veg to get the most out of it…

Zucchini Bread - © Lisa Dennison KasiaDKWhat would Zucchini Season be without Zucchini Bread?

Are you among the millions who avoid Zucchini because they simply don’t know what to do with it? Read on. And let your fears melt away.

First, the tips…

Use them young. Don’t let your Zucs get big and old and woody. ‘Biggest Vegetable’ contests are strictly for pumpkins. Take your cue from the small, ones you see in the supermarket produce section.

Apropos of the previous tip: Harvesting your Zuc smaller and younger will help you avoid an embarrassing surplus of big, old, undesirable examples at the end of the season.

The cuisine of Italy probably contains more references to and recipes for Zucchini than any other. Start there when exploring the squash’s potential.

It’s summer, and Zucchini is great grilled. There’s a rich vein of recipes in this niche that most folks haven’t mined.

However you plan to  cook your Zuc, be advised that it’s a great blank canvas for flavours. Marination should be always be considered.

When in doubt, roll out a casserole. There are as many recipes as there are Italian mothers. And all are great!

Avoid soggy, mushy fried or oven-roasted Zuc by drying the slices on a paper towel before  placing in the pan or under the broil;er. Cooking them quickly will help keep them plump and firm while still imparting that coveted crispy brown finish. Do not over-cook!

To guarantee firm crispy-crusted Zuc, dry the pieces on a paper towel. Then bread them using the classic technique (flour – egg – crumbs). and go ahead and fry or oven-bake as usual.

Final Essential Tip: The recommendations offered here for Zucchini also work for Eggplant!

Now, the recipes…

Zucchini ‘boats’

‘Boating’ is a classic North American way to use those small, tender, young Zucs.

Zucchini Boats - © bytherecipes com

Just cut the Zucs in half lengthwise and scoop out the centres. Brush lightly all over with everyday olive oil (or Canaola, if you wish).

Fill generously with any filling you’d use in stuffed peppers, cabbage rolls or other ‘stuffed’ recipes. Mound it up. Brush the top with oil.

Sprinkle with bread crumbs and/or grated cheese.

Remember: Zuc is a ‘blank flavour canvas’!

Zucchini Tomato Bake

In a shallow casserole dish…

Interleave slices of zucchini and tomato. You may also want to interleave thin slices of sweet onion.

Zucchini Parmesan - © giallozafferano.com

Cover with Marinara sauce and sprinkle generously with shredded Mozzarella, grated Parm, and bread crumbs.

Bake for one hour at 350 F, or until the casserole is bubbling around the edges.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Grilled Zucchini

Slice your Zuc lengthwise in o.25 in. / 1 cm slices. Dry on a paper towel.

Marinate in an oil-based mixture for half an hour, if you wish.

Grilled Zucchini - © chewoutloud.com

If you do not marinate, brush with plain oil.

Grill for a few minutes per side, until the Zuc is tender, and there are nice grill marks on both faces.

Serve piping hot.

Zucchini Skewers

Slice two small Zucchini in ‘coins’ and lay out on paper towels to dry. Turn to dry other side.

Brush with oil or oil-based marinade and add herbs or spices as desired. As we’ve said before, anything goes!

Zuccchini Skewers - © dadcooksdinner.com

Stack the coins on skewers, interspersed with sweet pepper and sweet onion pieces.

Brush with marinade or plain oil.

Grill for a few moments, until the veggies are just tender.

Can be served on skewers or off, as a side.

Zucchini Bread

What would Zucchini season be without Zucchini Bread?

Any quick bread recipe will do for a start. Any Banana Bread or Carrot Muffin recipe can easily be adapted to a Zucchini loaf. Or muffins. Or use the following 5-star version from AllRecipes.com. It’s actually very close to my own Mom’s Zuc Bread recipe, but includes some nice extras. And it’s fast and easy to make.

Tip: Make several loaves and freeze some!

Other dishes and condiments

We discussed a wide ranging variety of Zucchini recipes in this post from 2014..

That’s just the start!

Get Googling, and you’ll find more enticing Zuc recipes than you can imagine! The truth is, Zucchini goes with just about everything savoury and many things sweet. The more you experiment, the more Zucchini you’ll want!

~ Maggie J.