Hello all! I said I wasn't going to write this, after my wildly successful article about green beans, but cookin mama asked me to. And when mama asks for a food suggestion article, I just know that she is ready to share some brilliant recipes! Now who in their right mind would resist that? Not me, that's for sure. I'm just going to give a few simple ideas for using these lovely gourds, and let you wonderful vining foodsters run with it!
First, zucchini, summer squash, and courgette are all one and the same. You want to choose them when they are still fairly small--about the size of a slicing cucumber. You can still use the large ones, but they are better for baking, in my humble opinion. So...for the purposes of this article...I will focus on the smaller ones.
If you have ideas for the giants, feel free to share. I love zucchini bread and zucchini bars with cream cheese frosting. Very yummy! I also have shredded them and freeze them in 1 cup portions to use for baking in the winter. It holds up pretty well, you just have to be careful that you don't end up with too much water when thawing the shreds. Soooo...onto the courgettes (which are technically the small ones)!
One of my favorite uses for the small zucchini is to slice them either in disks or Julienne style and eat them raw. If they get too big, you have to consider the seeds, and the rinds get a little tough. They are awesome plain, or with any type of veggie dip. Now, you really can't get any easier than that!
Another use that I am fond of is sliced zucchini added to any stir fry type of vegetable medley. The key is to not over cook them. They just need a quick heat through or steam in the pan. The point is keep them from getting mushy. Whatever recipes you enjoy for stir fry, these always make a refreshing addition! The flavor is mild enough not to interfere with the main recipe, yet the texture is a nice addition to layer in.
I have also tried them breaded and fried. The first time, I shredded a courgette, added 1 egg, 1 T. of minced garlic, about 3 T. of flour (you may need to adjust that based on how well your patties are sticking together),salt, and pepper and formed into small patties. This, I would not recommend. I squeezed, and squeezed, and rung the shredded courgette in a clean kitchen towel. There is a lot of moisture in those little buggers, which makes it difficult to get the patties to stick together, and also a little dangerous when trying to fry in oil. If you want to try though, I used evoo in a non-stick frying pan--just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. I fried each side until golden brown over medium heat, turning once with a spatula. They were tasty, and the ones that stayed together were great! However, the ones that fell apart were less than satisfying.
My next attempt at breading and frying went a little better. I simply sliced the courgette in 1/3" thick pieces and patted dry between paper towels. I then dunked each slice in a beaten egg, then dredged through my flour, salt, garlic, and pepper mixture, then fried according to the same guidelines above. I have difficulty when breading with determining how much of each mixture to use. So, I usually start with one egg--you may need to add to it depending on the size of the zucchini--and about a cup of flour, 1 T. garlic, and salt and pepper to your particular tastes and supplement accordingly to your needs. I think everyone has different tastes for how much breading they want anyways, so it is difficult to say exactly how much you would need. I personally, prefer a light coating with this recipe, because it is still a little tricky to keep the breading on, but even if some comes off, they are still wonderful!
Okay, so there are a few simple ideas for using this wonderful summer veggies, but I am interested to know how you all decide to devour this wonderful food! I never seem to have enough of it, but I'm sure there is someone out there that needs a little inspiration!
Code of Honor and have fun! I'm sure this little veggie can inspire some great ideas and possibly conversations =)