You’ve all surely heard jokes where the punch line involves a box of zucchinis left on your doorstep like so many kittens.  Since zucchini plants tend to be fruitful (and yes, zucchinis are fruits) many recipes have been developed that make creative use of this bountiful summer squash.

Often in these recipes, zucchini takes a back seat to other ingredients.  After all, it’s quite nondescript in both flavour and texture.  This make it incredibly versatile, and it’s worth taking advantage of this fact.  Zucchini is a source of several good nutrients including Vitamins C, K and B6, Riboflavin, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.  It’s also high in fiber and contains some high quality protein, as well as low GL carbs.  In essence, eating very few calories of zucchini will give you lots of nutrition and help you feel full.

Mollie Katzen is one cookbook author who has embraced the zucchini.  The Enchanted Broccoli Forest and The (New) Moosewood Cookbook, two of her best-known books, offer between them 27 recipes that use zucchini.  There are some zucchini-centric recipes, but Katzen often makes the zucchini almost invisible, blending it into salad dressings, dips, sauces, soups and breads.  One recipe that I consider especially creative is her zucchini-crusted pizza, which uses grated zucchini as the primary ingredient in a thin, crisp crust.  I thought for sure I had a photo of one I made last year, but it seems to have vanished into digital heaven.  Oh well.

For today’s blog I was inspired by my recent interest in cake salés.  While I was especially drawn to one recipe that featured diced chorizo I settled on this one, which included the ingredient of the day as well as olives, which are pretty much vegetarian chorizo.  Win/win!

I adapted it as follows:

  • I doubled the recipe.
  • I used mostly yellow zucchini
  • I used 2.5 C All-Purpose flour and 1 C whole grain whole wheat flour
  • I substituted queso fresco for the goat cheese
  • I used 1/2 and 1/2 Kalamata and Moroccan olives (about 2/3 C before pitting and chopping.)
  • I used 3 eggs plus 3 eggs worth of chive and cheese egg blend (left-over from a camping trip)
  • I sprinkled the top with rosemary as well as salt.

This yielded 1 5″x 9″ loaf and three 3″ x 6″ loaves.

The result?  Not bad.  I really enjoyed it warm out of the oven, but is was a little lack-luster after the fact.  Using goat cheese and not skimping on the olives would have helped a lot.  I did enjoy it in a lovely breakfast one morning: I grilled slices of the loaf, spread on a healthy layer of avocado, then topped that with bacon and an over-easy egg.  Yum!

These days I’m keeping my eyes peeled for zucchini blossoms.  I doubt they’ll make it to my neighbourhood grocer, but I might luck out at a farmer’s market or specialty store.  While I’ve enjoyed these fantastic morsels in restaurants I have yet to cook with them at home.  Since the blog has honed my deep-frying skills (at least a little) I’m eager to try stuffing and battering them.  If I manage to find them before my next blog (french fries!) I’ll include a gratuitous photo for your viewing pleasure.

Until then, may your August delights be as bountiful as a zucchini garden.

~Sage

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