Bumper Crop: Zucchini
The third in a series on ways we like to celebrate the summer's bounty.
When we divvied up who would write about which produce for our Bumper Crop posts, I was asleep at the wheel, didn't speak up soon enough, and ended up with the ugly stepchild: zucchini. OK, I'm not entirely serious, but zucchini does seem to have a bad reputation when it comes to surplus garden crops. There are even stories of people leaving bags of them on neighbors' porches in the dark of night. "Gifting" someone with zucchini is a bit of a euphemism.
Nonetheless, there are some wonderful ways to use zucchini. In fact, if you were so inclined, you could feature it in every course of your menu.
First course: You might start with a salad tossed with Greek Goddess Dressing. The squash will be whirled into anonymous oblivion, leaving only a pleasant body and trace of green.
Main course: Another sauce that uses zucchini is Fettuccine With Creamy Zucchini Sauce. Zucchini joins the pesto-inspired combination of creamy ricotta, garlic and basil.
Perhaps your main objective is to use up as much zucchini as possible. The recipe that wins that contest is Zucchini "Pasta". The squash subs ingeniously for standard pasta and is gluten-free.
Dessert: What would the season be without the requisite Flora's Famous Zucchini Bread? It's one sure way to get kids to eat their veggies.
If you favor a more adult, chocolate dessert, try Fudgy Zucchini Muffins. These could easily be iced and served as cupcakes. Call them what you want, depending on the time of day you want to eat them.
By the way, if you're wondering about the casserole pictured at the top of the post, that's a concoction I put together in a hurry. I emptied a box of dried, herbed couscous (with the amount of water called for), topped it with a couple of sliced zucchini and some chevre, and baked at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. It was a great no-fuss meal.
See? There's no reason to fear this long green beauty. The next time someone offers to share their bounty, tell them they can do so in full daylight. No sneaking around required.
-- Leigh Lambert
August 24, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
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