The spring palate of greens and turnips and delicate bulbs of all things “baby” is finally giving way to the long anticipated summer sluggers…tomatoes and melons are just around the corner. But the bridge to that long awaited season of plenty is showing up in garden rows and farmer’s markets now. Zucchini is the celebrated staple of the CSA box this week. It is here to stay for awhile, and so why not celebrate? What will we do to keep ourselves from growing tired of the ordinary and keep the love affair with zucchini alive for at least a few weeks?
Our recipe suggestions this week include three ways to enjoy this hearty and unrelenting power veggie of the season ZUCCHINI!
Tagliatelle with Baby Vegetables and Lemon-Parmesan Sauce
From Bon Apetit May 2009, I was excited to uncover Tagliatelle with Baby Vegetables and Lemon-Parmesan Sauce. The pasta could take almost any form, but the freshest fettuccini will work best.
- 8 oz. Fresh, or high quality dried fettucine (or other ribbon pasta).
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Med. White Spring Onion, thinly sliced.
- 8 oz. Baby Zucchini, halved lengthwise.
- 8 oz. small green beans, cut in 1 “ lengths.
- 2 tsp. grated lemon peel
- 1 ¼ c. grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.
- 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
- 2 ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Cook pasta according to package directions, and then reserve two cups cooking liquid, returning the drained pasta to the pot. Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan, and sauté zucchini, onion, and fresh green beans until tender ~ about 5-7 minutes. Add lemon peel, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and toss. Add one cup reserved pasta liquid, whipping cream and lemon juice to pan, scraping browned bits. Reduce slightly and pour over reserved pasta, adding more of the reserve liquid as needed to moisten. Serve immediately with good grated parmigiano reggiano cheese grated on top. A salad of spring lettuce or arugula and warm crusty French bread will soak up the flavors and satisfy the spring appetite.
Zucchini alla Scapece
Chef Scott Stephanelli, chef instructor of the Culinary Institute of Charleston, visited the farm as a significant volunteer over the past couple of weeks while on semester break from the classroom/kitchen. It was interesting for all of us to exchange ideas about the phenomenon of local food and ever emerging trends in foodways. The instructional kitchen is a great place to learn what is fundamental and what is trendy, and so is the garden, according to Chef Scott.
Chef submitted the following recipe as we anxiously coaxed our first baby zucchini with squash blossoms attached for our favorite restaurant chefs/customers.
Traditionally this dish is served as part of an antipasti plate. It is also a great accompaniment to grilled fish or sliced fresh mozzarella.
- 3 zucchini or summer squash, slice into 1/4 inch slices or rounds
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 t.. aged balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 8 mint leaves
Heat a large heavy bottom skillet (Cast iron works great if you have one available) over medium high heat. Add just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil begins to smoke add half of the zucchini slices, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the squash begin to turn a nice golden brown. Turn squash over and cook for another 2 minutes to allow the zucchini to get tender. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate or a shallow baking dish.
Repeat the process with the remaining zucchini. Add a touch more oil if needed, but be carefull not to add too much as the zucchini will not brown with extra oil.
Slice the mint leaves into threads and mix with the remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Drizzle this mixture over the warm zucchini slices and gently toss to ensure that all of the zucchini is marinated. Lay onto a clean serving plate and arrange as desired. Drizzle the extra vinegar mixture over top and sprinkle some sea salt on top. Allow to sit at room temperature at least one hour before serving to allow flavors to meld.
Thai Zucchini Curry
With the addition of local fresh shrimp, free range chicken, or tofu, this one-dish curry will give a healthy loft to the weeknight evening meal
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 # skinless boneless chicken breast, shrimp or tofu
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
- 1 spring onion bulb, thinly sliced.
- 2 Zucchini, cut into rough chunks.
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced.
- 1 tbsp. red curry paste (available from most groceries)l
- ½ c. unsweetened coconut milk.
- 2 Tbsp Water
- Zest of one lime,
- 1 TBSP. Fresh Lime Juice
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sear and sauté the chicken, shrimp or tofu in a large skillet on high temp with the olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper after it is hot. Transfer to a dish to hold until later.
Add the spring onion and zucchini to hot pan, and sear briefly, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and toss to coat and toast, then add the sundried tomatoes, zest of lime, lime juice, coconut milk and water, allowing to cook for 2 minutes on high heat.
Add chicken, shrimp or tofu, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, then toss in the cilantro and spoon over rice.
As the season progresses, look for our favorite ways to make “goodies from the kitchen” using zucchini and other vegetables harvested in abundance.
Until then, HAPPY AND HEALTHY EATING TO ALL!!