Monday, August 9, 2010

The Zucchini Post

This is the time of year we are all inundated with the ubiquitous zucchini. To some it is a bland vegetable, but I have never found that to be the case. I think that summer squash adapts well to a variety of preparations. I could not leave these beauties behind at the Farmer's Market.

They were so fresh and so beautiful that I decided to make a "carpaccio" out of them. I know, "carpaccio" invokes images of raw beef--but raw, fresh summer squash makes a delcious treat.

Thin thin slices, some crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, a squirt of lemon, a drizzling of olive oil, and a sprinkling of mint. Delicious. I have also turned the squash into large thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler, tossed in some arugula, added lemon juice and olive oil and topped them with creamy shards of Parmesan cheese. Beautiful.

One of my favorite lunches when I was a kid was one my grandmother would make. She would go to the garden to pick some zucchini, green peppers and basil.  After sauteing the peppers, she would add zucchini slices and either fresh tomatoes, cut up, or a bit of tomato puree along with a sprig of basil. There was no such thing as crunchy vegetables in our family, but the slow stewing did not seem to make this dish any less tasty.

And one of my favorite zucchini dishes comes from a young friend who teaches at an outdoor environmental education center in the Santa Cruz mountains of Northern California.  In the summer when the education center is closed, her job is to tend the large garden along with her cat who thinks he's not, Wolfie. Despite her gofer problem this year, her zucchini harvest was overwhelming. Her fabulous recipe for Zucchini Feta Pancakes is a great way to use up excess harvest.

Cypress' Zucchini Feta Pancakes

4 cups coarsely grated zucchini
4 eggs, separated
1 heaping cup finely crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup minced scallions
3/4 teaspoon dried mint, or equivalent of fresh
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper

Place grated zucchini in a colander and salt lightly. Let stand for 15 minutes to drain. Rinse and squeeze out all of the excess water.

Combine the zucchini, egg yolks, feta cheese, scallions, flour and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks; then fold them into zucchini mixture.

Fry spoonfuls of this mixture on both sides in butter until golden and crisp.

These are good topped with plain yogurt mixed with some minced scallion and a pinch of cumin or curry powder.

 Sounds perfect to me.


  1. I am not normally a fan of raw courgette but I am very tempted by that picture. I am going to try it.

  2. Great! Let me know what you think, Kath.

  3. Today must be the day for Zucchini Crudo! Denise just sent me a link to another raw version. Your dish looks beautiful and delicious.
    Zucchinis abound, and I have never found it to be a boring or bland vegetable---rather versatile, really!

  4. Nancy-- I had to laugh when I saw that link in your tomato post. Don't you just love it when we are all eating the same things at the same time? Great minds.

  5. As noted above, I just made a version of your carpaccio. I used basil versus mint. I did not use pine nuts, but would be happy to try them next round. The pancakes look great too.

  6. Denise--Our two dishes look almost identical. There is so much fresh produce to enjoy in August that I can't wait to get to the farmer's market tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I love raw vegetable carpaccio's. I could really use one now...and we have some market zucchini at home...lucky me! :)

  8. Tracy--One sure thing about August is that everybody has zucchini at home! Glad you're back.