Come summer, whether you’re a kitchen gardener, a farmer’s market slicker or a seeker of store specials, everything comes zucchini, or zucchini, depending on who you ask.
Depending on how much heat you use, how much acid or salt you add to break it up, or what kind of starch you bind it with, zucchini stays on the gamut for succulence and density. Its spongy texture and neutral flavor mean its role in a dish is less about improving taste, and more about helping build body. Just call him Arnold Gourdzenegger.
Alice Zaslavsky’s method for improving zoodles
Some people are skeptical of spiralized zucchini, but I’m still curious. My favorite way to use them is half and half – half spaghetti or actual spaghetti and half zucchini. This way, it lightens the ratio of carbs to veggies, adds more color to your dish and provides a great interplay of al dente and al courge-ente.
Some people bleach zoodles, but I prefer to burn them. Place the zoodles in the strainer that is about to catch the cooked noodles, and pour the entire contents of the pot over them. Add olive oil and pasta sauce and serve.
If your plate is all zoodle, simply pour a kettle of boiling water over it until it burns. Pouring hot sauce over raw zoodle will give you a good result.
IUDs don’t have to be bulky electrical attachments either. My favorite kind is like a giant pencil sharpener, with two hoops to choose from. Always choose the wider pasta for searing, and save the skinny version for spirally sliced zucchini to toss in stir-fries, pies, or salads. For salads, the acid in the sauce “cooks” the pasta just enough to soften it.
Speaking of softening with acid, pickling zucchini slices turns them into a mini sponge for whatever flavors you add. My mother, Margaret, won first prize at Maldon’s show with mustard pickled zucchini, so you might as well have the same success. Use a curly cutter for a funky twist, or slice the mandoline to about 2mm thick.
Make 3 x 250 gr jars
1 kg of medium-sized zucchini, Washed and cut
500 grams of medium-sized onionsthin slices
2 cups white vinegar (500 ml)
Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons mustard powder (using Margaret Keane)
1 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon corn flour
1 cup raw sugar (220 g)
Put the zucchini and onion in a large saucepan with half of the vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine half of the remaining vinegar with the turmeric, curry powder, mustard powder, mustard seeds, and salt. Mash into a smooth paste.
Add the corn flour and sugar to the last of the vinegar and stir with a fork to mix. Pour this mixture into the courgettes over low heat, bring to a boil again and stir for five minutes, until everything thickens.
Add the mustard paste, add heat, and simmer for five minutes.
Put it in sterilized jars and store it in the refrigerator. The pickle will keep its best for up to 1 month, then slowly begin to soften.
Zucchini fritters are free for everyone
These pancakes continue to infiltrate the internet, after I first shared them on ABC TV’s Breakfast News. What I love about these muffins is that they are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free, making them completely free for anyone on a diet. Not only is chickpea flour (also known as besan) free of gluten, it also behaves like eggs when enough liquid is added. While many pie recipes call for you to squeeze extra moisture out of zucchini before frying, here I harness its moisture to help everything bind together. Saves on washing a bright green tea towel too.
Make 12-15 pancakes
400 grams of zucchiniAbout 3-4 medium sized carrots
½ small red onion
1 teaspoon of salt flakes, Plus an additional service
1 cup chickpea flour (110 grams), plus more if needed
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt flakes, to spray
Using the coarse side of a grater, grate the zucchini and onion into a bowl large enough to hold the entire mixture. Sprinkle the salt flakes on top and stir well, giving everything a squish to encourage the zucchini to start letting out liquid. Let the mixture rest for 5-10 minutes.
Sprinkle chickpea flour on top, and rub it in with your fingers to break up any lumps. (Yes, you can sift, but I like to be handy here.) Sprinkle in the baking powder and stir with a spoon until well combined. The batter should look like pancake batter. If it feels a little loose, sprinkle with another tablespoon of chickpea flour.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once it starts to shimmer, add heaping tablespoons of batter in a clockwise order, so you can remember which pancakes need to be stirred first.
Flip while the bottoms are golden brown, which should take three to four minutes. Once both sides are cooked through, drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt flakes while hot.
Serve immediately. If you’re not going to eat them right away, let them cool, then put them in the fridge. They will store well in the refrigerator for four to five days.
Roasting zucchini with butter crumbs
Zucchini are sometimes seen as bit players, but here they are the main business. This recipe is especially useful if you’re growing your own plant, and find one overgrown in the bushes. Just remember that the larger the zucchini, the longer the cooking time. This would work as a great roast with marrow, but as brewing king Sandor Katz always says: The flavor peaks at the halfway point. As the zucchini grows, the flavor melts, so be extra generous with the spices and cheese.
6 small to medium sized zucchini
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup currants (75 g)
juice and flavour 1 lemon
parsley cup, coarsely chopped
60 grams of Parmesan cheesefinely grated (preferably with a microplane coating)
100 grams of butter Plus salt and pepper to taste
1½ cups of sourdough rusks or panko crumbs (75 g)
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the fleshy center that also contains the seeds (aka “zucchini guts”), and reserve for later.
Brush the cut side of the zucchini with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the salt flakes. Place the zucchini on baking trays, cut side down, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each zucchini half over, and bake for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the butter crumbs, use your fingers to rub the buttered bread crumbs. My heart salt and pepper to taste.
Once the zucchini halves are out of the oven, spoon the butter crumbs into them. Feel free to stack the mixture—the height is good, as is a little overrun. Place the tray back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the toppings are golden brown and crispy.
Meanwhile, sauté the reserved zucchini guts in the remaining olive oil over medium heat for five minutes, then add the currants and sauté for another five minutes, or until the currants and zucchini are tender. Turn off the heat, drizzle the lemon juice into the lemon juice, stir in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roll the mixture across the base of a serving dish. Arrange the crumbled zucchini on top. We finish with grated Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and olive oil.