There’s a saying that goes something like this: “If you plant zucchini, be sure you have a lot of friends.”
I’ve heard it said before, but it wasn’t until this year that I truly understood what these words meant. This year I planted not one, but two zucchini plants. We aren’t even at the height of zucchini season and I feel like I can barely keep up with the abundance of zucchini!. Every time I turn around, there are magically five (or more!) ripe zucchini that are just begging to be eaten. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’m not tired of zucchini, yet. And thankfully, it is still early in the season I have friends who are willingly allowing me to pawn off some of my zukes on them. We’ll see how long that lasts…
Really, though, I am thrilled to be harvesting (and enjoying) my very first crop of zucchini. This year, I planted two heirloom varietals: Black zucchini and a lovely striped Cocozelle zucchini (pictured above). These squash are colorful, firm and flavorful and I’m having a great time coming up with new and exciting ways to prepare them! As much as I love a good zucchini bread, I knew I needed to branch out and find interesting recipes to highlight these tasty squash.
So, for this post I’m including 3 zucchini recipes that I’ve tried recently and loved! Each preparation is unique in its own way, and each recipe highlights the zucchini in a different way. In addition, at the end of the post I’ll include a few links for more fantastic zucchini recipes. Because, let’s face it: zucchini season is far from being over. If you’re like me, you’ll need more than 3 recipes to get you through the season…
Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta
I saw variations of the recipe online and just created my own version, using simple ingredients and fresh basil from the garden. The key is to quickly grill the zucchini over high heat, so that it gets good char marks but doesn’t get mushy or soggy. To me, this tastes like summer on a piece of bread. The flavors are simple, elegant, and summery.
3-4 small to medium sized zucchini, sliced in 1/4 or 1/2 inch rounds
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of olive oil (plus a little more for grilling)
3/4 cup (or a generous handful) of fresh basil, sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced
Toss zucchini rounds with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and half of the minced garlic. Let the zucchini set in the mixture for 15-20 minutes, to fully absorb the flavors.
Grill zucchini: If using a gas grill, turn on the grill and set to ‘hot’. If using a charcoal grill, ensure coals are good and hot before you begin to grill. Place zucchini rounds on grill, and grill each side for 2-3 minutes or until you see grill marks. Be sure not to overcook the zucchini, as you want to retain some of the original texture. Remove zucchini to a plate and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, cut zucchini into small cubes (an 1/8 inch dice).
Toss zucchini cubes with basil, the rest of the garlic, lemon zest, and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately atop a piece of grilled baguette, crostini, or bread of your choice. This is best served warm, straight off the grill!
Korean Zucchini and Carrot Pancakes
(Adapted from Kitchen Wench)
I’m not sure how I originally stumbled upon this recipe, but when I saw it and it called out to me. I’m a sucker for Asian flavors and thought that these savory ‘pancakes’ would be the perfect way to use up some zucchini. Turns out, they were! Other than the 30 minutes you’ll need to allow the zucchini to drain (so you don’t have soggy pancakes), this comes together quickly and make for a great easy weeknight meal option.
2-3 small to medium sized zucchini
2 teaspoons salt
2 small carrots, grated
1 small yellow onion, grated
2 cups all purpose white flour
2 large eggs
2 – 3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Ponzu
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
Slice zucchini into very thin julienned strips (could use a grater or mandoline, I just used a knife). Toss zucchini strips with 2 teaspoons of salt and allow to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat together the eggs. Add in flour and whisk until incorporated. Add in the water gradually, whisking after the addition of each cup. Add water until the batter is the consistency of a slightly runny pancake batter (thin, but not too watery). Once the batter is mixed, add strained zucchini, grated carrots, and grated onion. Stir until combined.
Grease a medium sized non-stick frying pan with oil, and heat pan over medium heat. Once the pan is heated, pour a thin layer of the batter into the pan (about 1/2 cup, depending on the size of your pan). Working quickly, use a spatula to spread the vegetables in the batter into an even layer to ensure the pancake cooks evenly.
Once the bottom of the pancake is nicely browned, and the top is set, carefully flip it over and cook the other side until it is browned and the pancake is cooked all the way through. Once finished, remove from pan and allow to cool on a paper towel. Repeat process until all the batter is cooked. (I got 4 large-ish pancakes out this recipe). Serve warm with dipping sauce.
Bread & Butter Zucchini Pickles
(Adapted from The Oregonian)
It was the week after I made these tasty pickles that I saw an article on the Best Burgers in the USA from Saveur Magazine. In the article, they mentioned one burger in particular that stood out from the rest that was topped with house-made zucchini pickles. I’ve been thinking about burgers with zucchini pickles ever since (it sounds SO good) and I simply cannot wait to try it. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet, as I’ve been too busy snacking on these pickles straight out of the jar.
1 pound zucchini, trimmed and very thinly sliced (preferably using a mandoline)
1 medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard (*I was all out of mustard powder, so I just used extra mustard seeds)
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Combine zucchini and onion in a large shallow bowl. Add salt; toss to combine. Add a few ice cubes and enough cold water to cover. Allow to sit until zucchini are slightly salty and softened (about 1 hour).
Drain the zucchini and onion mixture (discard any remaining ice cubes) and dry thoroughly between two towels or in a salad spinner (excess water will thin the flavor and spoil the pickle). Rinse and dry the bowl. Return the zucchini and onion to the dry bowl.
In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seeds and turmeric over medium heat; simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand until just warm to the touch.
Pack zucchini and onion into sterilized jars (I fit mine in 3 8oz jars). Pour the brine over the zucchini until it is covered, and allow 1/4 of room left at the top. Cap with sterilized lids. Refrigerate and allow to sit for at least 2 days before eating. The zucchini pickles should keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.
And now, as I’ve promised, here are a few wonderful zucchini recipes that I plan to make this summer. Enjoy!
ZUCCHINI RECIPE ROUNDUP
Cornbread with Real Corn and Fresh Zucchini from Brooklyn Supper
Zucchini Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from Tasty Kitchen
Zucchini Salsa Verde from Pearl and Pine
Zucchini Thyme Butter from Kitchen Confidence
Zucchini Crudo from Kiss My Spatula