Tag Archives: Zucchini

Zucchini & eggs

10 Sep

This won’t take but a minute. That’s the way comfort foods work. Time-wise you’re in and you’re out in a flash. It’s the feelings that linger on.

To my way of thinking few foods provide more comfort than Zucchini & Eggs. It’s right up there with Pasta & Peas on the warm-and-fuzzy scale — and precious few things ever make it into that territory.

I am not alone in this. Many of the people that I grew up with in Brooklyn will back me up here, I am sure. Their mothers and grandmothers and aunts sliced many summer zucchini from their family gardens, and even cracked eggs fresh from the chicken coops in their backyards. The olive oils that they lovingly fried the zucchini and the eggs in were fresh and fragrant, the breads accompanying the completed scramble crusty and fresh from the bakeries down the street.

It would be an unprofitable use of time trying to estimate how often I have gone running to zucchini & eggs for nourishment. I wouldn’t even try.

What I will try is to get you to give it a go and see how it feels.

Just slice up a zucchini and fry it in olive oil until golden.

Add a couple eggs (three here) and salt and pepper to taste.

Once the eggs start to set, lightly toss into a scramble and then serve.

Feels pretty good, am I right?

Zucchini pie

26 Aug

To a gardener there’s no better way to use up summer zucchini than having a couple of house guests show up for a few days. And so the day that Lou and Deb arrived from Florida I got to work on some zucchini pies. The idea here is that the pies could hold up in the fridge throughout their four-day visit and be gone to whenever the mood struck, mostly as a snack or for breakfast.

I’m really glad they showed up when they did. My zucchini plants have been so prolific the past few years that I finally decided to cut back to only one of them this year. And yet even with just this single plant I can’t seem to keep up. Every other day I harvest another couple of these babies.

I’m guessing that many of you know somebody like me, so I suggest getting your hands on some of their zukes and commencing with the pie-making pronto.

Shred the zucchini like so.

Just one very large zucchini netted six cups’ worth of the shredded stuff. This would be just enough to make two pies, and so half all the proportions here to make only one pie. To the shredded zucchini add one large chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, five to six large eggs, 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese, and salt and pepper.

After thoroughly mixing the ingredients add 2 cups all-purpose flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder, then thoroughly mix again.

Coat two 9-inch pie pans with olive oil (or butter if you prefer) and evenly distribute the mixture into each pan. Place in an oven that’s been preheated to 350 degrees F for around 45 minutes.

This batch of pies baked for just a little over 45 minutes.

And, I am told, turned out pretty good.

Zucchini in olive oil

20 Aug

If your summers play out anything like mine do then odds are good you have some of this stuff in the fridge already.

After all, how many of these have you come across in the past couple months? I’m down to only two zucchini plants in the garden this year, but each has already thrown off a couple dozen specimens. And they’re still producing. One of my favorite things to do with zucchini is roast or grill them and then preserve them in olive oil.

Just slice them up.

Lay on a baking sheet that’s been coated in olive oil and season with salt and pepper (you can also do this outside on the grill), then place in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F. Using a spatula, turn occasionally so that the slices brown on both sides.

The time it takes to cook the zucchini varies, but this is about how things should look when it’s done.

All that’s left to do now is layer the zucchini, along with garlic slices and crushed hot pepper, in a container of some sort.

Then cover the whole thing in extra virgin olive oil and put it in the fridge. It’s best to wait at least a couple days before tasting; that way the flavors can meld together. As long as the zucchini are covered in the oil they should last in the fridge for a couple weeks or so.

I use slices of the zucchini on sandwiches (mint leaves are a nice way to top them when serving), but my favorite way to eat it has always been as an antipasti.

With bread to sop up the oil, of course.

Ravioli with zucchini & leeks

11 Sep

According to three very close associates of mine, these here are the best ravioli that I have ever made.

Don’t ask me. I’ve made thousands of the things, and I’m not about to pick a favorite.

Had I known this batch was gonna be such a big hit I’d have documented the recipe more precisely; at the very least, taken a few more pictures.

What are you gonna do? The recipe below is pretty close, I promise.

The ravioli filling is a combination of two fresh cheeses: ricotta and goat cheese. The fresh pasta dough you’re probably all set with, but if not, here’s a step-by-step look at how I usually make pasta dough.

The sauce is a mixture of sauteed zucchini and leeks. The ravioli are boiled and then added to the pan and mixed with the sauce.

A light dusting of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and you’ve got yourself a killer plate of ravioli.

Or so my associates say.

Two-cheese ravioli w/ zucchini & leeks
Recipe

For the ravioli filling
1 lb. fresh ricotta
1/2 lb. fresh goat cheese
3 Tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 large egg
1 tsp. lemon zest
slight pinch of nutmeg
good pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients together. Chill before forming the ravioli.

For the sauce
1 large zucchini, sliced and with the seeds removed
1 leek, sliced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 stick butter

1 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a good sized saute pan (large enough to hold the ravioli) heat the olive oil and then saute the zucchini and leeks until softened.
Add the butter and saute until vegetables are slightly golden, then add the chicken stock and cook for around 10 minutes longer. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cooked ravioli to the pan, turn the heat up to high, and gently incorporate before serving.

Zucchini fritters

2 Aug
I think we’re gonna need a bigger frying pan.
The zucchini plants have taken over the garden. I cannot possibly keep up. Already, just three plants have produced dozens of zukes. And many more are on the way. If you are local, and enjoy the green things, you would be doing me a tremendous kindness by raiding my plot of earth and taking some of the things off my hands.
What, you thought I was kidding?
Anyhow, here’s something to ponder as you’re making your way to the garden. They’re zucchini fritters that I’ve made a bunch of times, and usually they turn out pretty well.
You start by shredding some zukes with your instrument of choice.
Then toss the stuff into a colander and lightly salt it. There are four cups of shredded zucchini here, and I always use Kosher salt.
Put a plate on top of the zucchini and weight it down for a couple of hours. The idea here is to drain out most of the water that’s in the zukes.
I don’t just let the weighted plate do all the work. Several times while I’m waiting I will toss the zucchini by hand and then manually press down on the plate to remove as much moisture as possible.
To dry it out even further I go a couple rounds with paper towels.
After which, the four cups of zucchini winds up being around two-thirds of a cup, or less. (The liquid you see is about two cups, and it’s not even all of what leeched out of the zukes.)
In a bowl you put the zucchini, an egg, a good dose of grated cheese (Pecorino here), maybe a tablespoon each of flour and breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper.
Mix it all up and you’re ready to go.
It’s important that the oil (olive oil here) is very hot before dropping the fritters into the pan. These were only put in about thirty seconds ago and you can see that they’re ready to be turned.
This batch turned out pretty good, but fritters are the kind of thing that can go either way. My advice is to be patient, and practice.
We’ve got plenty of zukes to go around. Remember?