Dare I say it? Zucchini has started to be ready to pick. Oh sure, right now, it’s new, slim and young (weren’t all of us?) and has beautiful yellow blossoms (there’s another youth crack I could make, but I won’t), but soon someone will be proudly handing me a huge zucchini that looks like a green baseball bat and tastes as woody and challenging me to cook with it. Sigh. While I appreciate the thought in summer squash, bigger is not better. The best use of these bludgeons is to toss them to my dogs as a chew stick-they love them.
My neighbor at wonderful organic Hill Creek Farm knows me by now and takes pictures of the squash before she picks them for me. We laugh about it because early on she has tried to “gift” me one of these green weapons telling me to make zucchini bread with it. Firstly, I don’t like zucchini bread and secondly, if the taste/quality of the zucchini is so unimportant in this bread, why use it at all?? And I told her just that. But being an organic farmer, nothing goes to waste in her house. Honey, knock yourself out and go ahead and eat a piece of wood. Just don’t bring it over here. But keep the young delicate squash coming…and the blossoms. She just brought me the most gorgeous zucchini blossoms and luscious summer squash I’ve ever seen while I was writing this. Dinner will feature zucchini tonight!
This is such a versatile vegetable. It has a vibrant green color that doesn’t change with cooking and visually sets off the tomatoes and corn of the season. It holds up to slicing, chunking, shaving, julienning, batoning, spiralizing and just about any treatment-frying, sautéing, baking, roasting, grilling, etc. and can take any spice you throw at it. Despite my aforementioned digs at zucchini, I actually love it. I eat it all winter long-from far away climes, I know-but when it’s literally hours from the farm where it grew, it is a real treat. Here’s one of the many recipes I use with zucchini. Kids love helping make this dish and readily eat the results. I often serve this when I need a little crunch to my meal-it goes especially well with fish.
Parmesan Zucchini Chips
2 TBL. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
½ C. panko or bread crumbs
½ C. grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp. paprika
Cooking spray or a little bit of oil for the pan
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Oil a baking sheet or spray with cooking spray.
- Wash and dry the zucchini, cut off the ends and slice into ½” rounds.
- Put the zucchini into a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the Panko, paprika and cheese on a plate.
6. Press each zucchini round into the crumb/cheese mixture, flip and press again. Lightly pat the mixture onto the zucchini.
7. Place each round onto the prepared sheet in a single layer.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes(depending on how thickly you cut the zucchini) or until browned and tender but not mushy.
9. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.