Here in southeastern NC we are starting to see spring weather; the trees are blooming, robins are frolicking and allergy meds are being dispensed. It’s also time for me to start planning my spring plantings, most importantly the garden. With the backyard getting more shade these days I don’t have as much space as I used to, so I stick with a small herb garden and some tomatoes.
However one year I recall making a dreadful mistake of planting to much zucchini. My garden looked like a submarine flotilla and for whatever reason the only technique of consumption I had was to sauté them with onions, that got old.
Although I’m not gonna be planting zucchini again anytime soon, I don’t want y’all to get stuck in the same position as me. So here are my 5 favorite things to make with zucchini, and it’s not bread cause that stuff is just gross.
Zucchini fries are the absolute bomb. There are a zillion variations, but I like them rolled in parmesan cheese and herbs, then baked or broiled. Crispy cheesy on the outside and juicy on the inside – what’s not to love about that?
Roasted veggie primavera is a great comfort food. I prefer to roast squash, red onion, red peppers and asparagus in addition to the zucchini. Bring it all together by tossing the vegetables with a short pasta like penne and velvety sauce. Finish that with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. It’s a delicious weeknight meal or phenomenal side to a grill chicken breast.
One word – fritters. Preparation takes some time and patience but it’s worth it in the end. The secret is to get as much of the moisture out of the shredded zucchini as possible. After salting and allowing some of the moisture to draw out I will pile it in the middle of a big flour sack towel, gather and twist, using the leverage to squeeze out nearly all of the water. Fluffy crispy fritters every time.
I’ll admit to not actually fixing this next one myself but spiralized zucchini noodles with a good tomato sauce and garlic bread is terrifically simple, and everything is better with garlic bread. Pre-spiralized veggies can be purchased at the grocery store frozen and often fresh, making this speedy week night meal to bring together. Oh and don’t forget the parmesan cheese, since that seems to be theme here.
Although these are all good ideas, vegetable tian is hand down my favorite way to use summer vegetables. Olive oil, fresh herbs, zucchini, red onions, eggplant and tomatoes baked at a low temp until it’s sweet like a vegetable jam. Serve this with slices of crusty bread for scooping it right out of the baking dish.
There you have it my overzealous zucchini planting readers, stuff to do with zucchini that isn’t gross (zucchini bread) or boring (sautéed with onions).