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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?
A 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)
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