In the Midwest, zucchini is both a marvelous signpost for summer, and terrifying force of nature. The northern equivalent of kudzu, when the growing conditions are right its vines crawl out of tidy, fenced-in garden patches to take over whole neighborhoods, depositing dozens of dark green squash the size of Volkswagens in its wake.
Fortunately, zucchini also has many wonderful qualities. It is a terrific addition to soup, pasta, and side dishes, and makes cakes and breads moist and delicious. In the zucchini world, remember that the biggest is not necessarily the best: young squash are by far the most desirable– their seeds are still small and tender, and the flesh is firm and sweet.
Little known facts about the humble zucchini:
In 2005, a poll of 2,000 people revealed the zucchini (also known in Europe as the courgette) to be Britain’s 10th favorite culinary vegetable! Want to try something new? Try this British no-cook antipasti recipe for “Stuffed Courgette Rolls” from Good Food.com.
In France, zucchini is a key ingredient in ratatouille, a stew of summer fruits and vegetables prepared in olive oil and cooked for an extended time over low heat. Julia Child’s recipe for this wonderful dish is still a consensus favorite!
In Spain, zucchini are also fried with egg and onions in olive oil to make a Spanish dish called “tortilla de calabacín”.
In Italy, the blossoms are even stuffed and fried – an incredible treat!
Back here in the Midwest, when we have a craving for sweets, nothing beats a good zucchini bread treat; one office favorite is Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins thanks to our friends at Allrecipes.com. Feel that fall breeze yet? It’s a good time to try and share them!
Do you have a favorite way to cook zucchini? Tell us about it!
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