FOOD: Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini
The zucchini is probably the best-known member of the summer squash family. Originally from Italy, the zucchini is a variety of marrow squash that is harvested before it is fully ripe. The most flavorful zucchinis usually measure between 6 and 8 inches. They tend to grow plentifully in many different conditions, which in turn make them extremely affordable. They are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin A; they also contain fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid.
Zucchini and other types of summer squash are one of those things that I look so forward to during the summer months, but after weeks of stuffed zucchini, zucchini bread, roasted zucchini, and ratatouille with zucchini I begin to wonder why I got so excited about this overly plentiful vegetable in the first place. Here are two new and exciting zucchini dishes that will make you fall in love with this vegetable all over again.
For both of these recipes I purchased my zucchini and eggs from Potomac Vegetable Farm. The farm has two locations: in Vienna, Va., and Purceville, Va. www.potomacvegetablefarms.com. They’re ecoganic, which means they not only farm with organic practices but also in a sustainable way, and most importantly their vegetables and eggs always taste delicious.
Equipment: 1 large bowl, 1 medium bowl, 1 small bowl, 1 8-inch spring-form pan, rolling pin, 1 mandolin
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour — $0.28
1 ½ tsp. salt — $0.02
1 ½ tsp. sugar — $0.03
6 ounces butter, cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch dice — $1.04
2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk — $1.17
4 tsp. water — $0.00
1 ½ tsp lemon zest — in restaurant lingo this is considered a free-be ingredient, because the juice will be used for another recipe.
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano — $0.50
2 – 3 medium zucchini, no larger than 1-½ inches in width — $2.15
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil — $0.15
Salt and pepper
Total cost of this dish = $5.34
For the dough:
Sift the flour, salt, and sugar into a medium bowl. Add the cold, cubed butter into the flour mixture, using your fingertips, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center. Mix the eggs, water, lemon zest, and all but 1 tablespoon of pecorino in a separate small bowl. Pour wet mixture into the well of the flour. Mix to form soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently just until it is smooth and well mixed. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before use.
For the zucchini:
Slice the zucchini on a mandolin about an 8th of an inch thick. They should all be about the same round shape and thickness. If you do not have a mandolin you can use a very sharp knife, but unfortunately you will not achieve the same desired size with a knife. In a large bowl add sliced zucchini, olive oil and salt and pepper to season. Set aside.
Roll dough out to a 10-inch round on a counter top with dusted flour. Carefully place rolled dough in a spring-form pan until the dough reaches the top of the pan. Next, place slices of raw zucchini in the dough, shingling them all the way up to the top of the dough. Sprinkle the top of the zucchini with reserved Pecorino. Bake at 350* for 1 hour or until a sharp knife can be inserted all the way through the zucchini. This dish is better to be a little over-baked than under-baked. Let the tart cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Equipment: 1 box grater, 1 large bowl, 1 colander, 1 large frying pan or pancake griddle, paper towels on large sheet pan to collect oil.
2 medium zucchini — $2.15
2 tbsp. shallot – grated — $0.37
1 egg – beaten — $0.39
1 tsp. baking powder — $0.09
1 ½ tsp. salt — $0.02
½ tsp. pepper — $0.02
½ tsp. turmeric — $0.11
6 tbsp. flour — $0.07
Olive oil and butter combo for frying — $0.80
Total cost of this dish = $4.02
Grate zucchini into a colander over the sink. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt on the grated zucchini and allow to drain off its excess liquid; about 15 minutes. Squeeze off any additional liquid and add drained zucchini into large mixing bowl. Mix in all additional ingredients minus 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix until well combined. Depending on how wet or dry the mixture looks add the remaining flour accordingly. It should be the consistency of cake batter.
Place the griddle over medium-heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil/butter combo on the griddle, and heat until melted and sizzling. Place a 2 tablespoon-spoonful of zucchini mixture onto the griddle and cook for 90 seconds on each side. Set a timer, it is exactly 90 seconds for a 2-tablespoon scoop. Allow pancakes to drain on paper towels before serving. Enjoy!
Makes 20, 2-inch pancakes
I like to serve these pancakes with a little sour cream and smoked trout, or if you prefer smoked salmon goes well, too.
By Special to the Falls Church Times
August 31, 2012