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  • the savvy host

Good Food Gatherings starring ZUCCHINI

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

Maybe we’re the last to know, but zucchini is one vegetable that gets around! At some point during the summer, the abundance of green, speckled, and gold yellow zucchini at the farmers markets and through the local CSA can seem overwhelming.

The trouble is, you cannot grow just one zucchini. Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables. ~ Dave Barry

But take heart - from savory to sweet – from brunch to dinner – there are so many, many delicious ways to craft this summer staple onto the menu of good food gatherings. Good food gatherings represent entertaining at it's most basic - providing #goodfood, offering something to wet the whistle, but most importantly, allowing the time to share laughs, ideas, stories and life with those who have joined our table. For this type of entertaining, we look for those recipes that emphasize fresh, seasonal ingredients - straightforward preparation - communal serving & enjoyment - and interesting flavor combinations from different cuisines.

So for summer good food gatherings, here are two perfect recipes for your repertoire starring zucchini.

Grilled Zucchini

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

8 medium zucchini - yellow and green if available (about 2 ½ - 3 pounds)

Kosher Salt

4 cloves garlic cut in half

Ground pepper

2 lemons – peel zest and save lemons for juice

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation: Wash and pat dry zucchini. Trim top and bottom ends. Slice each zucchini lengthwise into 4-5 plank slices approximately ¼ inch thick. Prep a baking sheet by arranging 1 layer of paper towel to cover sheet. Lay zucchini end to end across entire baking sheet. This will be the first of several layers of zucchini. Sprinkle salt across the top of each zucchini slice. Turn each slice over. Rub 2nd side with open end of garlic clove half. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with another layer of paper towel and repeat until all zucchini has been seasoned. Let zucchini “sweat” for at least 15 minutes.

Grill over medium-heat until zucchini has slight “char” or “grill” marks (6-8 minutes each side). When cooked, add to a serving dish. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Add cracked pepper to taste. Toss and serve warm. Can also be served room temperature.

Serving options:

  • Chop & top with fresh herbs (lemon thyme, dill, marjoram, sorrel)

  • Use other citrus - blood orange, yuzu, or lime

  • Sprinkle with grated cheese (grana padano, sbrinz, feta, comte)

  • Season with a favorite dried pepper - Aleppo, Urba, or even Paprika

Zucchini Pancakes with Yogurt Sauce

(adapted from the NY Times Food and Joy of Cooking)

Serves 4-6

4 medium zucchini - yellow or (about 1.5 pounds)

4 large eggs, beaten well

2/3 cup garbanzo flour (all-purpose flour works as well)

Kosher Salt

Ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup crumbled or grated cheese (feta, parmigiano, or aged gouda work well)

1/2 cup chopped scallions (shallots, sweet onion or even green garlic work well)

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (dill works well, but feel free to substitute others to taste)

1 teaspoon baking powder

6-8 teaspoons grapeseed or other high-heat cooking oil

For the yogurt sauce:

1 cup plain yogurt, drained OR 1 cup greek yogurt (we prefer whole milk for texture)

3 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preparation: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Shred zucchini using a food processor or box grater. Place zucchini in a colander over a bowl, and mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drain for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cloth kitchen towel, and squeeze to extract as much moisture as possible. Squeeze again - the zucchini can take a beating! - and expect there to be approximately half the mass of zucchini remaining. Layer a baking sheet with paper towels (for the cooked pancakes to drain and keep warm once fried).

Cooking: Mix zucchini and beaten eggs to combine thoroughly (we like to use our hands!). Add flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, olive oil, feta or other cheese, scallions (or shallots, etc.), herbs of choice and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Mix well again to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Sprinkle baking powder over the top, and mix well again. Add 3 tablespoons high-heat oil to a heavy skillet, and warm over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Drop a heaping tablespoon of zucchini batter into the pan and repeat to fill the pan with zucchini mounds several inches apart to allow the pancakes to spread. Using a spatula, flatten each to a desired thickness. We prefer ours around 1/2 inch thick and 2-3 inches in diameter. Fry until golden on one side, then turn and fry again until golden on other side. Keep flipping a few times for up to 6 minutes so that the pancakes are nicely crisp. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Fry the remaining batter, Continue frying remaining batter, and remember to keep a layer of warm oil in the pan to ensure proper cooking (and no sticking!). Serve hot with yogurt sauce.

For yogurt sauce: Combine yogurt, garlic, lemon zest, EVOO, and salt. Mix well, and serve on the side or on pancakes.

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