Never Enough Zucchini Recipes
In "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," novelist Barbara Kingsolver's account of eating locally for a year, there's a chapter called "Zucchini Larceny." The summer squash in the family garden had lived up to its reputation as the vegetable that keeps on giving, and in one passage, Kingsolver suggests to her husband that they get a pig to help them with the surplus. Though she doesn't buy a pig, Kingsolver does discover that she's not the only one with a squashy problem:
Garrison Keillor says July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people don't put squash on the front seat. I used to think that was a joke.
I don't have a garden of my own -- something that I hope to change next year. But even as a farmer's market customer, I have overabundance issues. The zucchini isn't just prolific, its yields are huge, too.
One of the recipes below (we'll get to those in a moment) calls for 2 cups of coarsely grated zucchini. Thinking that I'd need at least 2 decent-sized squash, I bought twice that amount for two recipes. As it turns out, the zucchini had the upper hand (natch), giving me 2 cups grated from just ONE large green mama.
I've given up trying to do zucchini math, so instead I focused my energy on finding ways to use them. In the course of recipe research, I discovered that I am warming up to the old gal, who sometimes reminds me of a lazy alligator (or maybe it's hippo), lulling about the muddy river banks.
So give her a hand for being versatile, folks. Below, she shows up in two unlikely places: in chocolate chip cookie dough and as a stand-in for crabmeat. She never fails to surprise.
For a few more zukey ideas: This time last year, I discovered zuke-a-mole, a puree of roasted zukes and onions that has the consistency of avocado-based guacamole. Another old reliable is chocolate-zucchini cake, a moist Bundt-style number that is good enough for breakfast.
Please share your favorite way of reducing the zucchini surplus in the comments area. We can use all the help we get!
I Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Crab Crab Cakes
Adapted from John Shields, chef/owner of Gertrude's, Baltimore, Md.; recipe appears in "Cooking Fresh From the Mid-Atlantic" edited by Fran McManus & Wendy Rickard
KOD note: Years ago, I had heard from a vegetarian reader about this method of shredding zucchini and seasoning it with Old Bay to mimic a crab cake. I should have heeded her advice much sooner; these are a vegetarian dream come true! It is remarkable how much these taste like crab cakes, particularly if patties are small and thin. A real kick in the pants.
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise or plain yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
vegetable oil, for frying
Place grated zucchini in a colander; sprinkle lightly with salt. Let zucchini sit for about 30 minutes, allowing it to drain. Squeeze to remove additional liquid - zucchini should be fairly dry.
Place zucchini and bread crumbs in a large bowl and mix together.
Place egg, Old Bay, Dijon, mayo, lemon juice and parsley in a small bowl. Mix well.
Pour egg mixture into zucchini-bread crumb mixture, and mix gently and thoroughly. Form into 8 patties the size of crab cakes. Heat a small amount of oil in a saute pan, and cook patties on both sides, browning well.
Serve with tartar sauce, chopped capers, fresh basil and/or lemon wedges. Goes really well with halved sun gold or cherry tomatoes.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
From "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver
KOD note: This recipe yields a fairly soft cookie; for something crispier, I might replace the honey (used presumably to satisfy Kingsolver's local requirements) with equal amounts of brown or granulated sugar.
1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter, softened (I used Earth Balance brand shortening; I also think replacing 1/2 the butter with applesauce would work as well, but if you do this, eliminate the honey and use more sugar)
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine egg and butter and beat until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar, honey and vanilla and beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Slowly integrate dry ingredients into wet, until well combined, with beater or by hand. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.
Drop by spoonfuls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees, 10-15 minutes.
Makes about 4 dozen.
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