Zucchini, Courgette, Whatever, They’re Coming….

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They're here!Courgette225

They're there!

They're everywhere!

The summer invasion is in full force.  Neighbors are hiding from neighbors.  Children are dropping bundles, knocking on doors and running.  Everywhere you look you see otherwise kind and gentle people, skulking around with sacks full of long green and, sometimes, yellow objects behind their backs, trying to catch the unknowing unawares!

It's Zucchini Time!  Or Courgette Season!  You chose.  Whatever, they are taking over our gardens and our kitchens.

It's a versatile vegetable.  It can be sautéed, steamed, stuffed and scalloped.  One can put it into soups, stews, salads and sandwiches. It can be smothered with cheese, blended with tomatoes and onions, served with aubergine (eggplant) and peppers. 

One can hide it almost anywhere.  Shred it and put it, raw, into a salad, no one will notice.  Slice it thinly, add it to a stir-fry, it will be all but invisible.  Chop it up, sneak it into the pasta, only the truly finicky can tell – and then, just barely. 

Of course, it freezes well, both raw and cooked, so we can continue to enjoy this bounty all winter long…sigh…!

Let's not forget the ubiquitous 'Zucchini Bread' or 'Courgette Cake'!

I remember well the first time I saw a zucchini bread.  It was in the break room at the office.  I'd just stumbled in for my morning coffee, you know, that first, all important, jolt of caffeine, when I noticed slices of a baked confection with little green flecks in it.  I perked up immediately.
Hot Damn!  I thought, someone has made  "Brownies"!  Not Brownies, mind you, but BROWNIES, aka Magic Brownies, Fun Brownies.  Cool!  I grabbed a piece.

I was crushed when I learned that the little green flecks were a vegetable and zucchini at that.  It was years before anyone could convince me to try a slice again.  I mean, 'fool me once…'  'we all have our standards….' and all that.

Time passes, and I find my self with my own garden.  And in that garden is zucchini. 

Why, when we buy a packet of zucchini seeds, do they give us 50 seeds?  One plant is enough to feed a small army, but faced with all of those seeds I inevitably plant 3 or 4.  I know better!  Couldn't I just buy 5 seeds?  Could I start a seed sharing program?

Presto2bpast2bnights1A friend pointed out that I could just pick them small; they taste better and are not so daunting.  I try, but there's always the one that  I didn't see in the morning and by afternoon it's the size of a tractor tire.

In the interest of promoting good zucchini mental health I am contributing yet another zucchini recipe to this weeks Presto Pasta Nights, founded and hosted by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.  Please stop by her blog on Friday for all of the great pasta recipes from around the world!

Warm Courgette Pasta Salad / Peanut Ginger Dressing

1 zucchini (courgette), about 8" long (20cm)Zucchinsalad

2 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1/2 red or orange pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame or walnut oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 cup pasta, penne, rigatoni
Peanut Ginger Dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions.  When done drain.  Chop onion, mince garlic.  Slice red pepper the long way then cut slices in half.  Cut zucchini in half the long way, then into 1/4" (6cm) slices.  Heat oils in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, sauté 5 minutes.  Add garlic and pepper and sauté another 3 minutes.  Add zucchini, turn heat to medium and sauté 8 – 10 minutes longer (or however long you want).  When done to your liking add Dressing and pasta, toss to combine and serve.

Peanut Ginger Dressing

1 1/2 tbs tbs peanut butter   I used creamy
1 1/2 tbs Dijon Mustard
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs sesame or walnut oil
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
4 tsp white Balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger

Combine peanut butter, mustard, ginger and soy sauce in small bowl.  Whisk to combine completely.  Add vinegar and oils, whisk well.

I have to run, I think I missed a zucchini in the garden this morning and I want to get it before I need the tractor to haul it up to the house!

Don't forget: recap Friday, Once Upon A Feast

22 thoughts on “Zucchini, Courgette, Whatever, They’re Coming….”

  1. I never really ate zucchinis at all before moving to France, but now I love them. I make gratins & quiches with them, stuff them, soak them in balsamic vinegar and grill them, etc. Like you said – so versatile! Your recipe sounds delicious, I just might have to try it out tomorrow night…

  2. They are wonderful in a spring roll also!
    When the boys & I stayed with my motherinlaw in Michigan the neighbor across the road had a huge garden and yes zucchinis were always to be found in a box by the mailbox. She made zucchini cake one day and muffins the next and they boys ate each all gone everyday! Boys are good for that.

  3. Sam, I never ate them in the U.S either… mustn’t be a Minnesota thing….
    Tanna, yeah, boys are great – they’ll eat anything… and everything!
    Ulrike – no COURGETTE?!? If I thought they’d survive the trip I’d send them off tomorrow!
    Glad to be of help, Peter 😉

  4. Very funny post and great looking pasta! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  5. My courgette glut is easing off now but I will try this before there are none left!
    Know what you mean about the seed thing. My main problem this year was over planting.

  6. This looks really good. I am really enjoying the zucchinis so far this year. I love using peanut butter in recipes though I have never tried it in a pasta dish.

  7. Well, that is certainly going into my “recipe box”. it’s looks marvelous. And those zucchini’s are lovely–they almost look like they’ve been polished! 🙂

  8. Ruth, thanks, and have fun at the conference… wish I were there!
    Wendy, that garden just looks so EMPTY in the spring… and your glut is over? Awwww!
    Kevin, I never had before, either. That’s what happens when one is staring at the pantry, with yet another zucchini…
    Moi aussi, Lydia, one can’t have too many… unlike the zucchini (one can!)
    Truffle, it is flavorful… kind of ugly, though…
    I did NOT polish my zucchini… although that could be something else they could be used for…. Do you still have a ‘recipe box’? I do (hangs head in… either shame or glee…)

  9. You are so right. Zucchini has to be one the most versatile vegetables of all. Pretty much any way to make it, it’s delicious. Love the flavors in your dish and wish I had some right about now.

  10. Susan, thank the gods it’s versatile…since thay also made it soooo prolific! And, thanks, I was pleased with the way the flavors blended….
    Chris, I didn’t eat it until we moved here – thought it was bland and worthless 😉
    The dressing would be good on anything Asian..

  11. Glad to oblige, Christine…. hope you like it!
    Nora, kind of a summer pantry/garden easy dinner… as long as mon mari doesn’t eat all of the peanut butter

  12. Wow, peanut butter, vinegar and mustard… very unique combination that looks like the past wont end up being so sticky and heavy…. And that pic.. gotta try this one

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