Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Stuffed Full of Zucchini

Here come the squash!  Yellow squash and zucchini are staples in our crop share boxes throughout summer and fall.  As one of the most commonly available veggies, I'm always looking for new recipes to use in order to keep my family's interest.  Don't get me wrong, simply sautéed is awesome too.  If you can get the tiny baby ones, those are phenomenal for sautéing.  Just slice the squash in quarter-inch disks, melt some butter/margarine in some olive oil, and put them in.  Salt, pepper, and let them sit undisturbed until the bottom side is beautifully brown.  Flip and let the other side brown, and remove briefly to a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.  These can be dressed up thousands of different ways.  My personal favorite:  Add just a little minced garlic to the butter and oil, sauté the disks as above, and just before they finish squeeze a lemon over the pan.  Add a little fresh dill and fresh oregano (how's your herb planting coming, by the way?) after you drain them on the paper towel, and finally sprinkle with some Parmesan or feta.  mmmm...

That's not the real thing we're here to talk about, though.  We're here to talk about stuffed squash.  This is an entirely different level.  In general, you slice the zucchini lengthwise, then take the tip of a spoon and scrape out the seed area in the center.  Save what you scoop out, as lots of recipes add this in with the fillings.  Some sort of filling of herbs, breadcrumbs, cheese, other veggies, or even ground meat or seafood is pulled together and spooned back into the hollowed-out zucchini canoes.  Bake it, and you have stuffed zucchini!  This recipe, though, is my dead-on favorite for stuffed zucchini.  The combination of sun-dried tomato and canned artichoke hearts works so well.  This recipe is really good too.  Everything's better with bacon, right?

Another delicacy is stuffed zucchini flowers.  Yes, you can eat the flowers!  These dishes come from Italian, French and Mexican cuisines.  Essentially, some sort of stuffing, frequently cheese based, is put in between the petals of a closed flower.  The flower is then dipped in a batter (tempura batter is good) and then they're fried.  Italian variations frequently use ricotta as the stuffing, with some sort of addition (black pepper, herbs...).  French variations do too.  I'll admit that I haven't really tried any Mexican recipes for squash blossoms, but this one for crab-stuffed blossoms looks promising.  And, for the adventurous souls among us, there's Aztec squash blossom pudding.  Hmmm...

On an unrelated note, I was wandering around Nall's on Friday and there is an incredible collection of hanging baskets full of flowers and plants.  The one below (with coleus) I thought was really gorgeous.  Stop by and take a look!


  1. I must admit, I'm a pretty lazy chef (if you can even call me a chef, that is), so I mostly saute, stir fry with peppers and a peanut sauce, or add to veggie soups. But the one thing I'll go out of my way to do is fry (or bake) stuffed zucchini flowers -- there's just nothing like it! Thanks for the great reminder!

  2. I love reading your blog, always interesting. When I make my pasta sauce I always add zucchini, carrots, onion and sometimes eggplant, that way Victoria doesn't know and she eats it any way