The header image is my (one) zucchini plant in late August, traveling in three different directions with no indication of stopping any time soon. Having planted only a couple of seeds, one from two different varieties, I am not completely certain which cultivar I have here, but it is definitely a light green Italian heirloom, and probably a Genovese. When the seed purveyors warn you that the heirloom squash plants will sprawl, they are not kidding. With each growing end of the plant cranking out one or two squash a day, that’s a lot of zucchini. Here are a few ideas that have helped me keep up with the harvest.
Toss zucchini into a stir fry or curry. I got the idea from a local Thai restaurant that uses summer squash in all kinds of vegetable dishes with great results. I think the more widely available zucchini is probably a substitute for a Southeast Asian squash or gourd that is difficult to find here, but it is delicious nonetheless. That’s a Jimmy Nardello pepper in there along with a couple of carrots and Thai basil from a friend’s garden. Find a basic sauce you like, put some rice on to cook, air fry the tofu, raid the fridge for whatever veg you have on hand, and there’s a meal on the table in 30 minutes.
If you already have your main ready to go, a nice side dish is a sauté of zucchini coins with mint and feta added at the end of the cooking time. Add salt and pepper to taste, brown it as much or as little as you want, and toss in some red pepper flakes for a little spice. For more depth of flavor, start with a little onion or shallot. Quick, easy, and there will be no leftovers.
If you want to take a little more time, this dish is an adaptation of a somewhat famous zucchini gratin from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Vol. 2.) Smitten Kitchen has tested this recipe using a few shortcuts, and I made it the first time her way with great success. Instead of rice, however, I used red quinoa. The grain cooks in about the same amount of time as rice does, and it added a nice nuttiness and a little crunchy texture. I also used cashew milk and gluten-free AP flour. It all worked perfectly. The gratin was a solid summer main with a green salad on the side.
Zucchini season will be gone soon enough. Until then, enjoy the spoils of all that work in the garden. Happy September!