Spring is like a feast for the eyes and for the palette. There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables to enjoy! One of my all-time favorites is zucchini squash, also known as courgette on this side of the pond. It lends a punch of color to any table with its green or yellow skin. Though they do not have a particularly strong flavor, their texture and moisture makes zucchini a great main ingredient. Some cooking methods bring out the squishy nature of squash, making it less appealing to serve at a dinner party or backyard gathering. I focused on recipes that bring out the best of squash so you will have your family and friends wondering what magic trick you know to tame the moisture of zucchini to create such delicate dishes.
You will be reminded of potato pancakes when you take your first bite of Squash Fritters. Like potato pancakes, they are delicious with a spoonful of sour cream. Unlike potato pancakes, they have a light, less starchy flavor that is perfect for balancing out spicy barbecue dishes or crispy fried chicken. Zucchini Slaw is a refreshing and tangy side salad. With no dairy products included, it can hold up to sunshine a bit better than traditional coleslaw. It feels like a savory version of fruit salad when served alongside a sandwich. Using both yellow and green squash makes this dish super colorful. Zucchini squash can even be a dessert when you make Cinnamon Zucchini Bread. This recipe has a lighter, cake-like texture that is sweet without being overwhelmingly sugary. I imagine the first chef to add cinnamon to zucchini was either clumsy or brilliant! I hope that you will enjoy these three recipes as much as I enjoyed making them.
2 cups shredded raw yellow zucchini squash, peeled
2 teaspoons minced shallots
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon butter
1. Place the zucchini in a bowl and gently press the top with a dry clean paper towel to pick up excess moisture.
2. Add the shallots, flour, and eggs to the zucchini and mix completely. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and thyme into the bowl and blend.
3. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the zucchini batter into the skillet to make each fritter patty. Cook until it has solidified, then flip each fritter and cook the other side until the patty is lightly browned on both sides.
4. Serve warm with sour cream garnished with chives. These fritters are excellent when partnered with fried chicken.
2 cups shredded raw yellow zucchini, unpeeled
2 cups shredded raw green zucchini, unpeeled
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the shredded green and yellow squash in a medium bowl and mix together.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic powder, basil, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the shredded zucchini and stir. Evenly coat the zucchini with the sauce.
3. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an air-tight container. Refrigerate to chill before serving. Offer this instead of traditional coleslaw.
Cinnamon Zucchini Bread
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups shredded raw green zucchini, unpeeled
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a deep loaf pan or oven-safe dish with butter and flour.
2. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a standing mixer, beat the eggs. Gradually add sugar and oil while continuing to mix. Slowly, add the cinnamon, flour, and baking powder. The mixture will become very thick, but still manageable. Turn off the mixer after all the ingredients have been added and scrape around the bowl’s sides to pull in any unmixed flour and continue.
3. Set the mixer aside and mix the shredded zucchini into the batter by hand. Once the zucchini is distributed evenly throughout the batter, pour it into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 50 to 70 minutes. To test to see if the bread is done cooking, take a clean knife and slide it straight into the center of the loaf. Pull it out carefully and look to see what residue is on the knife’s blade. If there is batter streaked on the blade, the bread is still cooking. If the blade is clean or with minimal residue, the bread can be removed from the oven.
5. When the bread is done, let it cool slightly before serving. Since there are no preservatives in this recipe, you may consider refrigerating bread after the first day and freezing it within 6 days.
Which will you make first? What’s your favorite way to enjoy zucchini?