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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Zucchini Heaven

I am awash in a sea of zucchini. It is a modern miracle because no zucchini has followed me home from the grocery store recently and my garden is a barren wasteland thanks to some fat neighbourhood raccoons. My suspicions are turning to some of the most kind generous and sneaky neighbours on this side of the Rockies.

After some long lazy summer days, we had been chatting with our neighbours and catching up with each other’s lives. In one of these casual conversations I innocently mentioned that my family and I love zucchini. Not long afterward zucchini began anonymously appearing on my doorstep. One behemoth weighed five pounds! We are thinking of saving it for Halloween and carving it instead of a pumpkin or adopting it as the youngest member of our family.

There are only two approaches to cooking zucchini. The first is a favourite among zucchini lovers. It not only enhances zucchini flavour, it puts zucchini on centre stage. The secret is to brown, grill or fry the zucchini at high heat and salt it so the flavour is accented. The second approach is the slight of hand where you sneak grated zucchini into other dishes and deny that it ever existed.

Zucchini gratin, zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini and battered zucchini cause my family to drool with anticipation. Chocolate zucchini cake, zucchini muffins and chili with zucchini are my way of making healthy food that I’m sure my children appreciate. To be honest, I’m forced by the sheer magnitude of the zucchini wave lapping at my doorstep to invent new and interesting ways to serve zucchini. I’m resorting to sneaking it into every dish and hoping that no one notices.

As he was handing over a few zucchini, one of my neighbours admitted to me that his opinion of cows has been elevated to new levels since he discovered that…NOT EVEN COWS WILL EAT ZUCCHINI…. since he is obviously not a zucchini lover, I sent my daughter over with chocolate zucchini cake in an anonymous brown paper bag marked with a big “Z”. We also have new neighbours moving into their home this week. I’m thinking it would be mighty neighbourly of me to share the bounty.

For others in zucchini distress, I’m including one of our favourite methods of serving zucchini. Feel free to experiment as much as you like; zucchini is a forgiving palette. Just make sure your oil is at the right temperature and fries everything to a golden colour.

Zucchini Fritters

1 lb of grated zucchini 1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder 2 chopped green onions
Handful of fresh sage – chopped (whatever herb you like best)
1 egg

oil for frying
salt
wedges of lemon

Mix together the first six ingredients. Pour oil to a 1 cm depth into frying pan and heat on the stove top. Test the oil temperature by putting in a small drop of zucchini batter. If bubbles form around the mixture and it puffs and becomes golden; your oil is hot enough. Drop dollops of zucchini into the oil and flatten them slightly to make small patties. Turn over once they are golden on the bottom. When they are golden brown, remove them to drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle them with salt and serve with wedges of lemon.

If you are wondering, yes, I still love zucchini. I’m thankful for each one that appears on my doorstep. However, just in case anyone is interested, what I REALLY love is seafood and chocolate.

6 comments:

Meghan said...

i love zucchini.... i especially love using it in pasta sauces....

marye said...

Mmm...fried zucchini with chipotle sour cream.

lucette said...

I've been doing the same sneaky cooking with cucumber--yesterday we had a shrimp and cucumber stir fry. Cucumber fritters? why not.

Sarah said...

I will be trying this fritter for my fondue party planned in a few weeks... that and of course some fresh zucchini.. but what a nice little dipping piece for my fontina laced cheese fondue... Thanks !

Catie said...

drool

Dolores said...

I've been promising my boyfriend homemade zucchini fritters for most of the summers of our 12 year relationship.

My CSA delivered 2 pounds of farm fresh zucchini this morning.

And this evening I stumble upon this.

I thank you for the inspiration. And so does John. :)