Sunday, October 2, 2011

random stuff to do with zucchini

As anyone who has ever planted them or joined a farm share knows, the bounty of summer squash and zucchini never seems to end. Luckily, my csa seems to have moved on this season, but there was a month or two there where it was pretty dicey. Laura made a LOT of zucchini bread, but for some reason I stuck with more of the typical veggie side dish type thing.

First, we have this totally makeshift zucchini and yellow squash gratin that I made. I sliced a couple of squashes super, super thinly with my mandoline. I put a couple of layers down in my cast iron skillet, well seasoned and topped with a hefty amount of grated cheese. After like five minutes under the broiler, cranked up super high, my thin little zucchini slices were cooked through, the cheese was a little bubbly and all that was left for me to do was to sprinkle it all with some basil.

Basil and zucchini make a fabulous combination, and a little romano cheese never hurt anything that wasn't fish, so as much as of no-brainer throw-away dish this way, it was also pretty tasty.

So if basil and zucchini are a classic combo, I don't even know what you would call fried zucchini. I had the brilliant idea to try making some fried zucchini sticks with panko breadcrumbs and pairing it with a lemony olive oil sauce with mint and basil. It didn't come out quite the way I anticipated, since for whatever reason the stupid breading all started falling off in the pan. A bummer, but it wasn't enough to completely ruin it, and I would definitely try to make a more successful incarnation of this dish in the future.

Third, we have a pretty simple pan seared zucchini and garlic dish. What made this more special was that the zucchini came from my Aunt Elise and Uncle Ed's garden in California, and I picked them myself-- along with some beautiful little zucchini blossoms.

Once I seared off the garlic and the zucchini coins in olive oil-- sliced about a centimeter thick-- I tossed in the flowers and let them cook for just a minute or two. I was worried about them getting too oily, but they stayed nice and fresh tasting, and certainly added a nice burst of color to the plate. I finished off the dish with some grated parmesan and fresh basil.

It was delicious, but mainly because I was showcasing some of the sweetest, freshest zucchini I had ever had the pleasure of eating. There's something amazing about eating food straight off the vine, truly.

In closing, let me leave you with this photo of Aunt Elise with some of her zucchinis. Can you believe the size of those things? Holy cow!

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