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zoramargolis
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Was watching Iron Chef America "Battle Zucchini" last night, in which Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune beat Bobby Flay. Topic of argument between Michael Ruhlman and the other two judges was whether zucchini actually has any flavor. Earlier that night, we were trying to figure out what to do with some CSA zucchini. Saw this, and had all the ingredients on hand. I thought it was going to end up being the worst thing I'd ever cooked, as zucchini and water are basically the two main ingredients (!). Not only was it edible, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit and would even make it again. I'm still not sure whether zucchini has a distinct flavor, but the nice texture it gives this soup will really surprise you.

I watched and enjoyed that battle, and am in accord with Michael Ruhlman's opinion of zucchini. I haven't bought any in a long time, primarily because my family refuses to eat it, but I got a few ideas from the show. But looking at your soup recipe reminded me of a dish I invented years ago, when I grew a large garden and always had way too much zucchini to deal with. It was basically vichyssoise with zucchini added so I called it vichy-squash. I haven't made it in years, but it was potatoes, leeks, onions, a little garlic, zucchini and chicken broth (or water) cooked until soft, then pureed and served cold with some fresh herbs, like chives, basil or dill and some whole milk yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche.

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Interesting topic...I had a soup at Market Salamander a few days ago that was very similar to the one linked in cjsadler's post (Zucchini Basil Soup). It was good but didn't have a whole lot of flavor beyond the mild flavor of the basil - I though it needed lemon juice or something else acidic to give it a little punch. Maybe a 95-degree July day wasn't the best time to try this either - I wondered how it would have been as a cold soup.

I personally look forward to zucchini season because it's one of my favorite things to throw on the grill. I slice zucchini lengthwise in 1/4-1/2 inch strips, throw on a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and salt , let it all sit for a few minutes and then grill until tender. Yellow squash is usually part of the mix. So simple and so yummy! Always gets compliments when served and is good as cold leftovers too.

I also really like the chocolate zucchini cake recipe that can be found in the attachment linked here (see page 35). The zucchini mostly adds moisture to the cake (along with some nutritional value I would hope) and virtually melts so unless people are told they wouldn't even notice it.

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I have not personally verified this, but it makes sense: the smaller the zuch is the tastier -- according to some food sage I once read. Many people who grow their own wait until the squashes are baseball bat sized before they harvest them and then find them quite tasteless. The blossoms themselves are the tastiest of all, n'est-ce pas?

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I personally look forward to zucchini season because it's one of my favorite things to throw on the grill. I slice zucchini lengthwise in 1/4-1/2 inch strips, throw on a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and salt , let it all sit for a few minutes and then grill until tender. Yellow squash is usually part of the mix. So simple and so yummy! Always gets compliments when served and is good as cold leftovers too.
I concur with the "so simple and so yummy" part, but I tend to like to associate the yummy part with adding zucchini & squash to homemade lasagna. There's a certain fresh bite it gives to the lasagna that is comforting and healthy feeling.

One zucchini recipe that I'm always afraid to try or taste is zucchini bread. People rave about it, but this is one combination I can't get my head wrapped around...:lol:

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One zucchini recipe that I'm always afraid to try or taste is zucchini bread. People rave about it, but this is one combination I can't get my head wrapped around...:lol:
You're missing out! Do you like banana bread? It's a very similar kind of sweet bread - just without the bananas. Again, the zucchini adds some moisture but no real detectable flavor (or at least not an unpleasant one).

I'll have to give your lasagna idea a try!

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I was surprised to learn zucchini are a 19th-century invention and you gotta wonder what was behind that. Perhaps the desire was to scale down bloated marrows and make them more visually appealing.

I have grown to dislike zucchini in stewed preparations, e.g., the traditional stove-top (vs. oven-bound) ratatouille. However, I swear the vegetable has flavor when roasted or sautéed for a very long time, the latter at low temperature in olive oil w lots of garlic and a few red chili flakes until white flesh turns golden and big round disks shrink to the size of coins. Splash of red wine vinegar, slivers of mint. Toss with pasta. (Roman tradition.)

Like eggplant, the watery vegetable soaks up flavors of added ingredients and retains them, but intense heat combined w oil coaxes out its intrinsic flavors, too.

Also like running long slivers, slathered w olive oil, under broiled to approximate the effect of a grill. Turn. Layer in glass or ceramic casserole w slivers of garlic and torn basil leaves and pop in fridge overnight. Return to room temperature.

Heavenly when quartered length-wise, dipped in light batter and deep-fried. Love fritters, too, but in this case, the shredded zucchini, even if salted and squeezed, don't seem to impart much taste.

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Heavenly when quartered length-wise, dipped in light batter and deep-fried.
I used to love ordering this as an appetizer in restaurants when I was a kid. It seemed to be pretty common in the 80's, usually served with a honey-mustard type dipping sauce.
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I love zucchini brushed with olive oil, seasoned with sea salt & oregano and grilled. Or in a skillet "hash" with sausage & peppers, or with yellow squash, milk & cheese in squash gratin. And one of my recent favorites (but least healthy!), shredded in pasta alfredo. The gratin and pasta recipes have also proven very kid-friendly.

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I can't believe I contributed an affirmative post to this topic a couple of years ago.

Never met a vegetable I didn't like, but let's just say there's no transference going on when my beloved winter squash goes on hiatus and summertime counterparts arrive in the market.

In the fridge right now: one dark-green speckled flying saucer (akin to pattypan), two crooknecks (yellow at least; my least favorite) and two zucchini.

I know fritters and that's probably where they'll end up. New ideas welcome. Anyone tried making soup w these squash as main ingredient? Recipes include cold w buttermilk and curried w a bit of coconut milk.

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Never met a vegetable I didn't like

Hey! That's my line! :)

Anyone tried making soup w these squash as main ingredient? Recipes include cold w buttermilk and curried w a bit of coconut milk.

I've done a cold buttermilk zucchini soup before, and it was lovely -- very refreshing. I like it with a little bit of cumin, just a pinch, and some crushed red pepper for heat. I think Dan (Cole) made one, too, when he didn't quite know what to do with some zucchini he had ... but I can't remember what was in it.

I'm a big fan of zucchini pancakes (along the fritter lines), too.

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In the fridge right now: one dark-green speckled flying saucer (akin to pattypan), two crooknecks (yellow at least; my least favorite) and two zucchini.

I know fritters and that's probably where they'll end up. New ideas welcome. Anyone tried making soup w these squash as main ingredient? Recipes include cold w buttermilk and curried w a bit of coconut milk.

Crooknecks are good because at least they have flavor. Yellow straightneck squash - not so much. (Pondering why Apple thinks "crookneck" is spelled correctly but "straightneck" is not.)

Ideas include: 1. Dice, steam or pan cook until tender, then toss with salt, pepper, feta, and chopped mint. 2. For dinner tonight I made ribbons and tossed them with pesto. Anything is good with pesto on it. 3. Last night I made pancakes with grated squash, salt, pepper, hot sauce, a pinch of baking powder, an egg, and flour until it seemed right. Just a typical southern vegetable pancake, but I put in some feta cheese. These were well received. If you have real crooknecks, the traditional preparation when I was growing up was a pan sauté with onions. My first baby crookneck of the year is about five centimeters long on the plant right now, so I'll have to douse straightnecks in flavored things until they are ready.

Just as an aside, why do some of the vendors at farmer's markets bring that nasty, old, bumpy summer squash to sell? It's inedible.

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I like to halve them and scoop out the cottony insides, then stuff them with a corn/tomato/feta/basil salsa and bake them.

Excellent example. The insides of summer squash should not be "cottony." If they are, the squash were picked too late. (I just erased a huge quantity of rant about crappy greengrocers and lack of product knowledge.)

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my husband's frugal Dutch grandmother, who was a notoriously bad cook, used to have a garden every year at her summer house in Southern Vermont. She would deliberately let her zucchinis grow large before picking them, and couldn't for the life of her understand why people would pick them when they were tiny--after all, you can feed so many more people with a big squash than with a small one. J's mother and grandmother both were much happier working outside in the garden, or on craft projects than they were in the kitchen, and spent as little time as they could on meal preparation. Everyone was glad when I joined the family, since I took over the task of cooking when everyone would gather at the Vermont house during the summer--mostly so that I could have decent meals.

In the days when I had big gardens with too many hills of zucchini, I used to make "vichy-squash" a pureed cold soup, with potatoes, onions, leeks and zucchini cooked in chicken stock with a splash of white wine and some cream or yogurt.

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Just as an aside, why do some of the vendors at farmer's markets bring that nasty, old, bumpy summer squash to sell? It's inedible.

my husband's frugal Dutch grandmother, who was a notoriously bad cook, used to have a garden every year at her summer house in Southern Vermont. She would deliberately let her zucchinis grow large before picking them, and couldn't for the life of her understand why people would pick them when they were tiny...

Zora may have answered your question indirectly. Ignorance, tradition, difference in culinary skills and taste... Actually, I find your distinction between crook and straight-necked yellow squash relevant. I have two organic straight-necks: bumpy, not too big, not too small from two successive CSA hauls. I bet they were grown for sake of coloristic variety. (You've got your red tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, dark green zucchini, and before purple eggplants, why not some yellow?) I think I'm going to try to make a small batch of curried soup with it for a change, grating and draining it first.

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Postscript for lperry: The South may be to blame for all the straightneck yellow squash at market. At least, perusal of cookbooks at library indicates tradition of making a yellow squash casserole topped w bread crumbs. I am guessing dish predates popularity/wide availability of zucchini in this country.

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Postscript for lperry: The South may be to blame for all the straightneck yellow squash at market. At least, perusal of cookbooks at library indicates tradition of making a yellow squash casserole topped w bread crumbs. I am guessing dish predates popularity/wide availability of zucchini in this country.

Do you really think those casseroles are southern? I remember a similar discussion ages ago on another food forum site that shall not be named, and the Midwest ended up taking the rap for that one. Or maybe I just remember it that way because I want a region other than mine to take the blame for anything containing cream of mushroom soup. :)

I would bet that straightnecks are the result of shipping issues - crooknecks break pretty easily. They are also heirlooms, so they may not have whatever characteristics are needed for large-scale farming of summer squash.

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Zucchini bread is delicious. If you have not tried it, you are definitely missing out. There are countless variations. My grandmother's recipe included plenty of cinnamon and coarsely chopped walnuts for added texture. The best part of baking zucchini bread is that the scent of cinnamon floated from the kitchen through the entire house all day long.

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Zucchini bread is delicious. If you have not tried it, you are definitely missing out. There are countless variations. My grandmother's recipe included plenty of cinnamon and coarsely chopped walnuts for added texture. The best part of baking zucchini bread is that the scent of cinnamon floated from the kitchen through the entire house all day long.

Since the spices, brown sugar and nuts mercifully provide flavor, the zucchini doesn't need to bring much to the party, which is good, because all it has to offer is moisture and vegetable fiber. Just about anything else with similar qualities could be substituted and I bet no one could tell the difference: yuca bread or cucumber bread anyone? :)

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Do you really think those casseroles are southern? I remember a similar discussion ages ago on another food forum site that shall not be named, and the Midwest ended up taking the rap for that one. Or maybe I just remember it that way because I want a region other than mine to take the blame for anything containing cream of mushroom soup. :)

Oh, I'm talking Lee Brothers and some other kindred source. No reconstitute-me-please soups involved which would, indeed, place the dish smack dab in the middle of the country, driving north.

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Nice thread. My mother used a combination of our Lancaster County upbringing and Middle Eastern to bring the zucchini to another level.

One dish is as simple as it gets -- saute sliced or chopped onions with sliced or diced zucchini until soft and slightly caramelized. Add salt, pepper and chopped garlic to taste. Stir in a few scrambled eggs to bring it all together, and when the eggs are barely set, serve it as a side dish (or a breakfast). I'm telling you right now, one of the great flavor pairings of all time is the zucchini and the egg.

Another dish is zucchini fritters, not unlike corn fritters. Make your favorite simple fritter batter and grate zucchini into it. I add a few drops of Tabasco to the batter. Pan fry small disks and serve them as a side dish. My kids love to splash them with maple syrup, but in Pennsylvania Dutch style a little butter goes well.

A Middle Eastern dish substitutes short, fat zucchini for the short, fat Middle Eastern squash known as "koosa". Core out the seeds from inside the zucchini using a small melon baller or a coring tool sold at any of the Middle Eastern markets. These insides can also be used as fritters in the recipe above. Stuff the cored out zucchinis with a seasoned rice and meat stuffing similar to that of Rima's Chicken at Layalina. Put them in a pot, cover with tomato juice, and simmer until the rice is cooked. Yumm....

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:)

...However, I swear the vegetable has flavor when roasted or sautéed for a very long time, the latter at low temperature in olive oil w lots of garlic and a few red chili flakes until white flesh turns golden and big round disks shrink to the size of coins. Splash of red wine vinegar, slivers of mint. Toss with pasta. (Roman tradition.)

Yes! My dad used to make that in summer, with zucchini from our backyard garden. (He was Dutch-Scottish but a mad gardener & a sporadic cook.)

Drop the pasta & you have one of my favorite summertime dishes. I slice up zucchini & one or two other kinds of squash from the greenmarket. Toss in olive oil in a big frying pan over med-high heat till the slices are well coated with oil & moisture begins to bead out. Cut the heat way down at that point & let them cook slowly, with a stir & a turn every once in a while, till they shrink & are nicely caramelized. Sprinkle with oregano or whatever strikes your fancy a few times along the way.

I've never really timed this, I just get the pan going first before I attend to the prep & cooking for the rest of the meal, but it's probably about 45 minutes. I love the results.

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I slice up zucchini & one or two other kinds of squash from the greenmarket. Toss in olive oil in a big frying pan over med-high heat till the slices are well coated with oil & moisture begins to bead out. Cut the heat way down at that point & let them cook slowly, with a stir & a turn every once in a while, till they shrink & are nicely caramelized. Sprinkle with oregano or whatever strikes your fancy a few times along the way.

I just made something like that a couple of nights ago, using zucchini and yellow straightneck squash, plus fresh thyme. (I used to call them yellow zucchini, but I'm not sure if that's the correct term.) Due to some mistiming on the main dish, they continued to cook over very low heat a lot longer than I would have typically done, and they were especially delicious.

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I just made something like that a couple of nights ago, using zucchini and yellow straightneck squash, plus fresh thyme. (I used to call them yellow zucchini, but I'm not sure if that's the correct term.) Due to some mistiming on the main dish, they continued to cook over very low heat a lot longer than I would have typically done, and they were especially delicious.

That's exactly how I developed my technique. laugh.gif

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Goodness can't believe the last post to this thread was in 2010!  But I have some good ideas for using up summer squash now.  I like the idea of the soup above.

I made boats last night.  Tonight I think linguine with squash and either shrimp or bacon.  I have favorited a bunch of different recipes on Food52.  Anyone have a good recipe or some instructions on if you want to make them like you do a crab cake?  I saw this at a restaurant and wondered about if they pan fried then baked or etc.

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i love zucchini and am always surprised when people say it has no flavor. to me it tastes strongly green. i too make a dish will well-browned zucchini slices, cooked with lots of garlic and chili flakes, over pasta and it's one of my weeknight faves. (anna--i'll have to try adding mint!). lately i've been doing a brothy soup with shredded zucchini (browned briefly) a bit of garlic and chili, orzo, and lots of lemon, and you can brown some onions in there too if you'd like. and zucchini cooked by first tempering mustard and cumin seeds, then adding tumeric, coriander powder, and a bit of chili powder is so good.

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I've been making a lovely squash gratin pretty regularly this year.  I do like yellow squash a little better than zucchini in this but it works just fine.

3-4 links of Stachowski's sausage crumbled (I like the Chicken Santa Fe sausage best in this dish)

1 medium onion chopped

1 small bell pepper chopped (or to taste)

Saute together in olive oil w/ S&P until onion is soft.

Layer in lasagna pan (about 3 layers)

sausage mix

squash cut into fairly thin rounds

a sprinkling of a good hard cheese (or nutritional yeast)

a sprinkling of salt

Drizzle about 1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream over all (I've done it without, it's okay but a little better with the cream)

Top with generous layer of panko (or whizzed pork rinds or Chex rice cereal -- they all work)

Bake at 350 about 45 minutes or until topping is lightly browned

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One of our favorite ways to use up surplus zucchini/yellow squash/eggplants is to take a mandolin to them and use the resulting thin sheets as a sub for pasta in "lasagna".  Even better chilled and sliced as a veggie strata.

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One of our favorite ways to use up surplus zucchini/yellow squash/eggplants is to take a mandolin to them and use the resulting thin sheets as a sub for pasta in "lasagna".  Even better chilled and sliced as a veggie strata.

How do you keep yours from getting watery?  I have always found doing this mine gets really soupy?

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Last night on my attempt to use yet more zucchini, I made a base of zucchini, shallots and garlic that I sauteed in olive oil until fairly cooked, then threw in some leftover rice to stir fry after the vegetables had cooked a bit.  It made a good base for a Cava style rice bowl.

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The dog was begging for the bits of squash stuck to our bowls, which is hilarious because he won't eat a raw vegetable to save his life.  

My wirehair terrier, Janis (Joplin) would eat a whole zucchini, holding it upright between her front paws like a bone. A true omnivore, she used to sit up and beg in front of the tomato plants in the garden.

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My wirehair terrier, Janis (Joplin) would eat a whole zucchini, holding it upright between her front paws like a bone. A true omnivore, she used to sit up and beg in front of the tomato plants in the garden.

Our vet said when Max needed to lose a little weight if we stopped feeding him other things he would eventually eat vegetables again as a snack/treat.  Apparently my dog would rather starve.  If it is cooked, especially in butter or something he might eat it, but a raw veggie- nope.  I wish he would it would be good for him and she said I could pretty much give him as many carrot sticks or other safe raw veggies he would eat, but apparently he isn't THAT hungry.  He has lost a couple pounds and is down to his goal weight now, so...

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I'm a big fan of sauteed zucchini - chopped into medium size chunks cooked over medium heat with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and any other good herbs - especially oregano or thyme or both.  We either it alone as a side vegetable, topped on pasta with some cheese and cherry tomatos, or a really nice combo is sauteed with corn.  I've found we like it best when we use smaller, skinnier zuchinnis for these recipes.

However, every summer we typically don't find some zucchini in the garden until it is too late and end up with some big monster ones.  In the past, we've done zucchini bread (which is ok, but like others above I don't think the zucchini adds much to them) and zucchini fritters (I like the middle eastern ones that are more like puffed up pancakes due to the addition of baking powder and good with a yogurt sauce).

Over this past weekend, I found a big guy and decided to slice it down into small spears to fit into pint size jars and make italian-spiced quick vinegar pickles. These were excellent even after only 1 day sitting out on the counter. I modified some recipes I saw to make a mostly, herbal savory but not too vinegary pickle. After slicing the zuchinnis to spears, I let them soak in a bowl with a quarter cup of salt and cold water (with a few ice cubes) for about 1.5-2 hours.  Drained, rinsed, drained again.  For 3 pints, I mixed 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar, 1/2 cup of white balsamic vinegar infused with oregano (using up a leftover gift from awhile ago), 4-5 black peppercorns, 1 TB+ fresh oregano, 1TB+ fresh thyme, and 1 Tsp+ fresh rosemary and brought it all to a boil.  Added a sliced half of garlic clove to the bottom of the jar, stuffed in the zucchini spears (also added a few cucumbers too to pack the jars completely), and then ladled in the brine on top and sealed.  Left out on the counter for 1 day. Now they are in the fridge.  Great way to use up a bunch of stuff in the garden for a delicious treat.

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We have a ton of zucchini, and a friend gifted us about 4 cups of cherry tomatoes, so I resolved to use them up in one go on Friday.  I sliced the zucchini, sauteed it in olive oil with garlic, and then threw in the cherry tomatoes, whole.  Cooked it down for a while until everything was soft, and the tomatoes had split open.  Finally, added some left over juice from a can of tomatoes I had in the fridge and reduced with S+P.  Added this to a pound of cooked fusilli, threw in various herbs from the garden (mint, basil, oregano, chives) and many spoonfuls of fresh ricotta.

It was good for dinner, but even better the next day as pasta salad.

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