FOOD

Squash Before Squish

Zap your zucchini supply with a diversity of dishes

By Wendy Bennett

If you’ve ever planted zucchini, you know how prolific these summer squash can be — there is some definite truth to: “It’s zucchini season; don’t make eye contact with your neighbors!”

So what to do with all the zucchini? Chef Wendy Bennett suggests a variety of recipes that will surely make a delicious dent in your crop, and just in time before winter varietals ripen on the vine.

Confit Byaldi

Yield: 4 servings

Wine Pairing: Cabernet Franc

PIPERADE

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
½ cup yellow onions, finely diced
3 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced, juices reserved (about 12 ounces)
1 cup roasted red peppers, diced small
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig flat leaf parsley
½ bay leaf
* kosher salt, to taste

VEGETABLES

1 zucchini, sliced in 1/8-inch rounds
1 Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
* kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

VINAIGRETTE

1 tablespoon Piperade, reserved from recipe
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
* assorted fresh herbs (parsley, chervil, thyme)
* kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Piperade: Combine oil, garlic and onion in medium skillet over low heat; cook until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes (and tomato juice), thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes (do not brown); add peppers and simmer. Season to taste with salt; discard herbs. Reserve 1 tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of 8-inch pie plate or tian.
  3. Vegetables: Heat oven to 275°F. Arrange slices of vegetables over Piperade, overlapping so ½ inch of each slice is exposed. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed.
  4. Mix garlic, oil and thyme leaves in bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover pan with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours.
  5. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If excess liquid in pan, place over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350°F oven until warm.)
  6. Vinaigrette: Combine reserved Piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl.
  7. To serve: Heat broiler and place Byaldi underneath until lightly browned (about 5 minutes on low). Slice into servings and carefully lift onto plate with offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees, guiding Byaldi into fan shape. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.

Adapted from Thomas Keller, “The New York Times,” June 13, 2007, as created for the Disney movie “Ratatouille.”

 

Zucchini Panang Curry

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Wine Pairing: Riesling

INGREDIENTS

2 cups red and yellow bell peppers, ¾-inch dice
2 cups zucchini, ¾-inch dice
2 cups Crimini mushrooms, cut in ½
2 cups yellow onion, ¾-inch dice
1½ cups carrots, peeled and ½-inch dice
1 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons Panang curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves, bruised or sliced chiffonade-style
1 Thai chili peppers, whole
¼ cup peanuts, skinless, roasted
* rice

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss vegetables (separately) with olive oil, salt and pepper; roast in oven until golden brown, but not too soft. Let cool.
  2. Crush peanuts and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 ounce of coconut milk (from top of opened can) in wok over high heat until bubbling.
  4. Add curry paste; fry for 2 minutes until aromatic. Add remainder of coconut milk; bring to boil.
  5. Add roasted vegetables and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add fish sauce, palm sugar, lime leaves and chili peppers; stir to combine, cooking 1 minute. (Do not stir vigorously or vegetables may become mush.)
  6. Add peanuts and serve immediately over rice.

 

Zucchini Baba Ganoush

Yield: 6 servings

Wine Pairing” Pinot Noir

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
2 zucchini, medium-size, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup tahini
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

METHOD

  1. Preheat charcoal or gas grill to high. Oil outside of cut zucchini using 1 tablespoon olive oil; season well with salt and pepper. Grill zucchini until well-charred (this gives baba ganoush necessary smoky flavor) on all sides; remove from grill and cool completely.
  2. In bowl of food processer, combine grilled zucchini, tahini, garlic cloves, lemon juice and cumin; process until mixture is smooth.
  3. Season mixture with salt, then taste and adjust with more, if needed.
  4. Transfer baba ganoush mixture into shallow bowl; spread into even layer with back of spoon.
  5. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over top of spread; sprinkle parsley and Kalamata olives on top before serving.
  6. Serve with vegetable sticks or pita chips.

 

Baked Chocolate Zucchini Donuts

Yield: 48 mini donuts

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir

INGREDIENTS

1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons cinnamon, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups zucchini, shredded
4 tablespoons butter, melted

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, combine ¾ cup sugar, oil and apple sauce until well mixed. Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, cocoa, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; stir to combine. Add flour and stir until just combined; then add zucchini. Do not overmix.
  3. Scoop batter into mini muffin pans; bake for 10 to 12 minutes. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Cool at least 5 minutes in pan before removing.
  5. Right before serving: Stir remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll muffins in melted butter than toss in cinnamon sugar.

Adapted from recipe on www.crazyforcrust.com.

A longtime professional chef, Wendy Bennett offers classes and caters in wine country. She lives in Dayton on a 12-acre farm with her family and a barn full of animals.

 

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