Zucchini is a prolific summer squash and a staple in the mid- to late-summer months when it seems to grow before your eyes. It is a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium. It is a low-calorie vegetable with a high water content, making it a light and refreshing summer treat.
Zucchini will keep in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator for 3-4 days (it can also be stored in a cool area, such as a basement). To store longer-term, freeze as puree (for soups) or grated (for breads, muffins, etc.).
Zucchini should be rinsed before eating, though it does not need to be peeled. It can be eaten raw, steamed, broiled, grilled, fried, or sautéed. Grate and add into a salad, or serve in a veggie platter with dip. Zucchini slices can be added to tomato sauce, a pizza, quiche, or in other baked goods.
Use either a whole zucchini, or one cut in half lengthwise or in large chunks. Steam for 5-15 minutes, depending on size. Drizzle with olive oil, a vinaigrette, or with butter, salt, and pepper.
1 lb. (approx. 2 medium) zucchini
1 tsp. coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
2 scallions, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
Olive (or other) oil, for frying
To serve (optional):
1 cup sour cream or plain, full-fat yogurt
1-2 T lemon juice
¼ tsp. lemon zest
Pinches of salt
1 clove of garlic, mashed or crushed
Preheat oven to 200°F, and have a baking sheet ready. Cut off ends and grate zucchini. In a large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 tsp. salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze out water from zucchini by pressing against a colander or squeezing in cheese cloth. Return to bowl, and add more salt if desired. Add scallions, egg, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix flour and baking powder in another dish, then stir into mixture with zucchini batter. Heat 2 T of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Drop small amounts of zucchini batter onto skillet, cooking only a few at a time to avoid crowding, and gently nudge them flatter with a spatula. Cook until edges underneath are golden (approx. 3-4 min.), then flip and fry (about 2-3 min. more). Drain on paper towels and transfer to baking sheet and warm in oven until needed. Repeat process with remaining batter, keeping skillet well oiled. Give fritters at least 10 min. in the oven to finish setting and get extra crisp. For the topping, mix sour cream, lemon juice and zest, salt, and garlic, adjusting flavors to taste. Add a dollop to each fritter when serving. Alternatively, fritters can be topped with a poached or fried egg. Fritters will keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week, or can be frozen for months. Simply reheat on a baking sheet at 325°F until hot and crisp.
Zucchini Tian With Curried Bread Crumbs
1 tablespoon curry powder
7 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat or regular panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 large white onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
4 medium zucchini (about 1 ½ pounds), thinly sliced (about 7 cups)
Heat oven to 400°F. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add curry powder and let toast until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, then stir in panko bread crumbs and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out skillet. In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat, then add onions, rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until onions are a deep golden brown. Add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour white wine into pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits. Remove from heat and stir in garlic, orange zest and black pepper. Grease inside of a medium-size gratin dish with ½ tablespoon olive oil and spread a third of the onion and tomato mixture on the bottom. Begin layering zucchini in an overlapping pattern, beginning around the outside and working your way in. Sprinkle with a third of the bread crumbs. Repeat layering two more times, ending with bread crumbs. Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil over bread crumbs and bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until vegetables are extremely tender and top has browned. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
(Recipe by Melissa Clark, published in the New York Times.)