With spring planting coming soon, I'm already starting to make plans for the produce. Zucchini, though not particularly tasty in itself, is prolific and has many uses. Since you start with so little and it becomes so much, it’s the ultimate frugal food.
1) Puree and put in tomato sauce with extra herbs. Your kids will never know.
2) Frittata. The kids will know, but if you bribe them properly this should be palatable. Use an iron skillet. Put olive oil, finely chopped onion and a bit of salt in the pan with the zucchini as you cook it. Add the eggs and cheese. Once the egg starts to set put the whole pan in a 350 oven and bake it until it browns slightly on top and puffs. Even the “I hate zucchini” people with eat it. This is a good night to make a decadent chocolate dessert.
3) Leave the forgotten one, you know, the one that hid under the leaves, that’s 4 feet long and looks like a pregnant boa constrictor, on an unpleasant neighbor’s front porch. Run like mad. If, on the other hand YOU’RE the lousy neighbor, keep your lights off and stay quiet. Zucchini season will not last forever.
4) Shred, squeeze out liquid, and use in chocolate cake or muffins to add moisture. If you want to be sneaky, peel the zukes first so no green shows.
5) Slice and use in a salad instead of cucumber. Once it’s covered in dressing accompanied by a bunch of other vegetables, it’s not that noticeable. My cousin did this during a visit at her house and the boys didn’t make a peep.
6) Batting practice.
7) Pickles. If you can use something as crazy as watermelon rind, why not zucchini? It lends itself to a bread and butter pickle rather nicely.
8) Stuffed zucchini. Take larger ones, slice them in half length wise, scoop out seeds and fill the middles with a mix of herbed bread crumbs, and grated cheese. Drizzle the top with a bit of olive oil. Bake until tender. Serve with food everyone likes. This is not a good night to cook liver.
9) Zucchini Parmesan. Thickly slice zucchini lengthwise, dredge in seasoned flour, then egg, then flour before frying in olive oil. Drain on paper towels (or if you’re cheap, newspapers). Layer with a savory meaty tomato sauce, and loads of grated mozzarella. Repeat layers until the pan is full, ending with sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
10) Dead zucchini makes great compost. Just turn often so the seeds don’t sprout. If they do, go back to idea 1).