CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's that time of year when sacks and baskets of zucchini appear in workplaces with the hopeful note "free to a good home" or by the armfuls from eager neighbors. Even gardeners who judiciously sowed just one plant can be overwhelmed with zucchini's prolific production.
A person can (and should) eat only so much zucchini bread, one of the more common uses of zucchini. It's usually made with alarmingly generous amounts of oil. Sauteed, grilled, stuffed, shredded, baked, roasted, fried or blanched, this versatile mild squash works well in both savory and sweet dishes.
According to livestrong.com, zucchini is high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. Eat it with the skin on to maximize its nutritional value
Zucchini's not really a favorite at my house, but Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats contained enough diversions in the form of sausage and cheese, to make the dinner cut earlier this week. Served over rice, the zucchini boats made a savory summery meal alongside a cool salad of greens and fresh peaches.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Stuffed Zucchini Boats
3 medium (8-inch) zucchini, ends trimmed, then cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pound lean turkey sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato-basil marinara sauce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
HEAT oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
SCRAPE out the insides of each zucchini half, leaving at least a half-inch of flesh. Don't scrape the zucchini all the way to the skin. Chop the flesh removed from the zucchini
COOK and crumble sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain any fat. Add olive oil and saute zucchini pulp, onion, green peppers and garlic until the onions are softened. Mix in oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. Transfer the meat mixture to a medium bowl.
MIX the cheeses together in a small bowl. Remove two tablespoons of the cheese and set aside. Add the rest of the cheese to the meat mixture, along with the marinara sauce and basil. Add salt and pepper, as desired.
DIVIDE meat mixture between the hollowed out zucchinis, filling and mounding into each one. Set the stuffed zucchini into the prepared pan and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.
BAKE 30 minutes, or until tender.
Nutritional information per 1 zucchini boat: Calories 241, Fat 13.5g, Saturated Fat 4.8g, Sugar 3.9g, Fiber 3.9g, Protein 19.2g, Cholesterol 51.6mg, Carbohydrates12.2.
Source: based on a recipe from skinnytaste.com
Crispy Zucchini with Parmesan
1 medium green zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
2 1/2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely ground whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
HEAT oven to 425 degrees.
TRIM the ends off the zucchini and squash.
CUT the zucchini in half crosswise and then cut each half lengthwise into 4 quarters. Do the same with the squash to make 16 evenly sized zucchini and squash sticks.
PLACE zucchini and squash on a small baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
MIX together the cheese, breadcrumbs and thyme in a small bowl. Sprinkle a generous amount of the cheese topping over the cut surface of the vegetable pieces.
BAKE until squash is almost tender and topping is golden brown, about 15 minutes.
REMOVE from oven and allow to cool a little before eating.
Source: April Hamilton, aprilskitc...@suddenlink.net
Cheesy Zucchini Casserole
Serves 6 to 8
6 large eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or other hot chili sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups grated zucchini (about 2-3 fresh zucchinis)
1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes (about 4-5 fresh tomatoes)
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut in strips
4 cups cubed day-old bread
HEAT oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the ricotta and beat until smooth. Mix in the grated Parmesan cheese, Tabasco, salt and pepper.
AFTER the vegetables are prepared, squeeze excess moisture out of the tomatoes, by pressing them in a sieve, or wrapping in paper towels and squeezing. Add the tomatoes, basil and zucchini to the egg mixture.
MOISTEN bread cubes with a little water then squeeze out any excess moisture using paper towels. Mix the bread cubes into the egg mixture.
COAT the bottom and sides of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish generously with olive oil. Pour the egg vegetable mixture into the baking pan and even it out in the pan. Place in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. The casserole should puff up and brown lightly. If it hasn't after 30 minutes at 350 degrees, increase the heat to 425 degrees and cook for 5-10 minutes further.
REMOVE from oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.
Zucchini and Corn Fritters
4 cups shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon salt