Seems you can’t go anywhere and not come home with a zucchini or two, work or church, even found four “growing” on the front seat of my car! Teach me to lock the doors. They mean well, the avid gardeners sharing their wealth with us, but how many zucchinis can one family use?
Unlike a lovely tomato from these same gardeners’ lots, one has to think about what to do with a zucchini. They are too big and too many to feed us on simple summer side dishes. We have to think bigger, (oh no! don’t let those zucchinis get bigger) get them into entrees and desserts. You can stuff them, sauté them, use shredded with pasta sauce or sliced in lasagna.
This is not necessarily the time you want to make lots of zucchini bread with the temps in the high 90s. Consider some of the recipes below or delay the inevitable and freeze them. That is right: you can slice, shred or grate zucchini and freeze it fresh. It will be waiting for you when you want to make those holiday gifts. Just be sure to squeeze the liquid out before you add it to cakes and bread.
It seems this prolific vine wraps well beyond our borders around the world. So many culinary cultures include the beautiful zucchini, Greek, French, Italian, Middle Eastern and Asian; to name a few.
For now, what’s for dinner? Try one of these recipes to savor the flavor of the gifts from our gardeners. We first enjoyed the Zucchini Fritters at a magical little restaurant on the island of Patmos in Greece. Serve along with a Greek salad and enjoy a perfect light supper for a summer evening.
Greek Zucchini Fritters – Kolokithokeftedes
- 2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 4 green onions including green parts, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 Tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
- olive oil
Wash zucchini. With skins on, grate them with the coarse side of a grater. Put the grated zucchini in a colander and let sit and drain while you prepare the other ingredients.
Remove the zucchini by the handful, squeezing to remove as much liquid as you can. Put it in a bowl with herbs, feta and green onions. Mix with a fork. Add the lightly beaten egg and stir. Add flour and bread crumbs. The mixture should be wet but not watery. Mix in a healthy dose of salt, I prefer coarse sea salt.
Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large flat skillet at medium to medium high. When hot (and not until), scoop out a generous tablespoonful of the zucchini mixture and put it in the pan. Lightly flatten it. Let it cook about 3-4 minutes or until brown and then flip them. Cook another 3-4 minutes until browned. Remove fritters and place on a paper towel -lined plate to remove some excess oil. Serve hot with tzatiki sauce.
Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Dip)
- 16 ounces (2 cups) thick Greek Yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 cup diced or grated cucumber – squeezed out
- 1 T. olive oil
- 2 t. lemon juice
- salt to taste
Combine oil and lemon juice in medium bowl. Fold in yogurt slowly, making sure it mixes completely with the oil. Add garlic and cucumber. Stir until evenly distributed. May garnish with dill or fresh mint. Serve with pita chips veggies or fritters.. Serve on meat, fish or souvlaki.
Italian Stuffed Zucchini
- 2 T Olive Oil
- 1 small onion, grated
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
- 1 large egg
- 3 T Ketchup
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 t. salt
- ¼ t. fresh ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (or parmesan)
- ¼ cup dried plain bread crumbs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 4 medium Zucchinis, ends remove, halved lengthwise
- 1 ½ cups marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly drizzle the olive oil into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Whisk the onion, parsley, egg, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in the turkey. Cover and refrigerate the turkey mixture.
Using a melon baller or spoon, carefully scrape out the seeds and inner flesh from the zucchini, leaving 1/8-inch-thick shells. Be careful not to pierce through the skin. Fill the zucchini halves with the turkey mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange in the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the stuffed zucchini.
Bake uncovered until the zucchini is tender and beginning to brown and a thermometer inserted to the center of filling reads 165 degrees, about 45 minutes.