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We don't all have time to make complicated zucchini recipes. Here are fast ways to cook that abundant summer squash. Mouthwatering.
A very old and tired joke still makes the rounds in these parts in late August and early September:
“Why do people in (name of community or region) always lock their cars this time of year?”
“I don’t know, why?”
“So they won’t come back and find it filled with zucchini.”
Most of the people who grow it are way too busy with other tasks to experiment with zucchini lasagne, zucchini pickles, stuffed zucchini boats, or zucchini burgers. Most people don’t find it palatable chopped raw into a salad, and there’s just so much of it.
But if you’re like me, you keep the plants producing by harvesting the fruits every day or two. And since you won’t want to burden your neighbors, try my quickest possible way to serve a lot of zucchini with plenty of flavor—instead of the usual watery-squash tastes.
Easily expandable if you’re feeding a crowd. Good hot or cold.
Turn up heat to around 410°.
Cut available squash into uniform spears or rounds of any size you prefer.
Toss with olive oil so pieces are lightly coated.
Spread squash pieces on baking tray(s) so pieces don’t touch.
Roast until lightly browned. You could turn occasionally, but it’s not necessary.
Adds a flavor burst and a crunchy protein boost to a tray of roastucchini. Works well for large squash sliced into rounds.
Roast squash as in previous recipe. Then scatter grated fresh parmesan cheese over the top. (Optional: Toss the parmesan with a teaspoon or so of mixed dried herbs in a small bowl and then scatter herby cheese over the top.)
Switch on the broiler and broil two or three minutes until cheese turns light brown and crispy.
Basilini (aka Pestozini)
Use this method when you have way too much zucchini, lots and lots of basil, and an extremely large skillet. Good hot or cold.
Wash the zucchinis, slice off the ends, and chop the squash into cubes or rounds.
Chop or tear fresh basil leaves into strips. The more basil the better for those who love this herb. If you have a roughly half 'n half mixture by volume, the finished product tastes like creamy pesto.
Put a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil and a bit of water into the skillet, then add as much zucchini and basil as the skillet will hold. Saute over medium heat with the top on, stirring and scraping occasionally to prevent burning.
Once the squash softens, remove the lid so the water will evaporate. Keep adding more zucchini and basil as the vegetables cook down.
Once you’ve added all your chopped squash, keep sauteing with the lid off, until the squash has lost most of its water. Mushy, basily, and delicious.
Note 1: If you have time, thinly slice and saute a couple of onions and a few cloves of garlic for a couple of minutes before you throw in the squash and basil leaves. Not necessary for a tasty dish, though.
Note 2: Versatile. For a main dish, add a couple of beaten eggs and some leftover chicken or meat. Top with cheese and bake at 350° until cheese is brown and bubbly.
We shared this post with Almanac Facebook readers who sent in many more quick takes on zucchini worth sharing! Here are just a handful of ideas:
Dip zucchini in egg and milk, then cornmeal and fry up. Yummy!
Zucchini chips: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, drizzle olive oil over zucchini and stir to coat; add bread crumbs and toss to coat. Spread coated zucchini onto a baking sheet. Bake until slightly browned (about 15 minutes).
Shred zucchini! Put into snack size zip lock bags (about a cup). Place small bags into a large zip lock bag and freeze. Handy for throwing in soups / casseroles and breads /muffins.
Cut zucchini or yellow squash about 1/2" thick and shake in plastic bag with flour, shake off and put in a frying pan with butter. Sprinkle salt and pepper and brown on one side, flip, salt and pepper, brown. Flip them several times, sprinkling with salt each time. Not a lot of salt, but a little each time!
Cut zucchini and yellow squash and potatoes and onion and okra up together mix in a egg/milk batter; roll in cornmeal and fry till golden brown. Our family calls it "Potato Crap!"