For Immediate Release
Fresh Zucchini Recipes for 2008
August 7, 2008
The 2008 Pennsylvania “Simply Delicious, Simply Nutritious” Vegetable Recipe Contest has produced another crop of fresh recipes for that summertime favorite – the legendary zucchini. August is the prime season for the prolific zucchini. It only takes a few days for a zucchini flower to become a nice tender squash 7 inches long – and only a few more days before it becomes a baseball bat if not harvested!
Zucchini, both green and golden varieties, as well as other summer squashes like yellow straightneck, yellow crookneck and pattypan, are now readily available at roadside farm markets, community farmers’ markets and supermarkets.
Markets are also well supplied during August with a whole array of other nutritious vegetables fresh from the farm – sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupes, watermelon, beans, cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers, beets, and eggplant besides summer squashes. That is why the Governor, the state Senate and the state House of Representatives have joined the Vegetable Marketing and Research Program in proclaiming August as Pennsylvania Produce Month.
Zucchini and other types of summer squash are members of theCucurbitaceae family along with melons and cucumbers. They are distinguished from their cousins known as winter squash – butternut, acorn, hubbard, buttercup and Turk’s turban – because they are harvested at a immature stage when the skin is still soft and edible. Squash are native to America and were introduced to European colonists by native Americans.
Zucchini are mostly water and include few calories and only minimal amounts of vitamins. However, according to the Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, they do provide small amounts of vitamin C and folacin. In combinations with other vegetables, they help you to include the recommendedtwo to two and half cups of different vegetables in your diet each day. Zucchini sticks or slices can be enjoyed raw with dip or added to tossed salads. Sautéing or stir-frying zucchini alone or with other mild-flavored summer vegetables can be a quick and easy way to add them to your menu. They also are a tasty addition to tomato sauces or pasta dishes.
The following recipes from the 2008 “Simply Delicious, Simply Nutritious” Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest offer several tasty dishes using the prolific zucchini:
Serves 8 to 10
3 c. Zucchini – shredded
1 1/2 c. Bread Crumbs – any flavor
1 – 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
2 T. Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper – to taste
8 – 10 Hamburger Buns
Cheese – sliced (optional)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Mix the zucchini, bread crumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, salt and pepper together and form into patties. Patties will be sticky. Place them in the baking dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. When patties are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Cooling makes them sturdier. At this point, you can fry them in a frying pan sprayed with cooking spray or store in your refrigerator or freezer until needed. Before serving, warm them up by frying in a pan. Serve on hamburger buns with cheese and your favorite burger toppings.
Finalist recipe submitted by Lisa Salvatore, Harrisburg
Summer Squash Pie
3 c. Zucchini and Yellow Squash – combined, grated with skin on
1/2 c. Onion – chopped
1/2 c. Mozzarella Cheese – grated
1/2 c. Swiss Cheese – grated
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese – grated
1 c. Bacon – cooked, drained and crumbled
1 c. Italian Sausage – cooked, drained and crumbled
1 Pie Shell – unbaked, 9-inch
4 cloves Garlic – finely chopped and lightly sautéed in virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Combine zucchini, squash, onion, cheeses, bacon, sausage, and garlic. Mix all ingredients well and pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top.
Finalist recipe submitted by Brenda Lee Venturo, Harrisburg.
Grilled Zucchini Crostini with Tomato Basil Salsa
3 Zucchini – small, ideally a combination of green and gold varieties.
3 T. Olive Oil
1 Baguette – or other firm crusty bread, very thin
2 T Butter
4 sprigs Basil – fresh
1 Tomato – ripe
4 oz. Yogurt Cream Cheese (or soft goat cheese)
Trim ends from zucchini and slice lengthwise 3/8” thick. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cut baguettes to the same length as the zucchini slices (5”) and slice each section lengthwise into three long slices (roughly the same size as the zucchini). If you don’t have a baguette just slice crusty bread into pieces the same length as the zucchini and around 1/2” thick. There should be as many slices of bread as zucchini. Butter one side of each piece of bread. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and dice the tomato. Combine in a bowl with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini on one side (using a medium hot grill or a ridged grill pan) until you see grill marks, about 4 minutes. Flip using tongs and immediately add the bread to the grill, buttered side down. When the bread toasts, after about two minutes, spread each slice with the yogurt cream cheese. By this time the zucchini should be tender with grill marks on both sides. Top the cheese with a slice of zucchini. Sprinkle the tomato basil salsa and serve warm.
Finalist recipe submitted by Debra Deis, Harrisburg
5 Zucchini – large, approx. 2 1/2 lbs. total
1 tsp. Salt
2 – 3 cloves Garlic – minced
2 T. Olive Oil
8 oz. Cream Cheese – cubed and softened
3/4 c. Half-and-Half or Light Cream
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese – finely shredded
Black Pepper – coarsely ground, to taste
Nutmeg – ground, to taste
Cut zucchini in half crosswise. Cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, and then lengthwise into long, thin strips about 1/4 inch wide (resembling strips of fettuccine). You should have about 8 cups. In a large colander toss the zucchini with the salt. Allow to drain for 1 hour. Rinse and drain. Pat dry. In a 12-inch skillet, cook the zucchini and garlic in hot olive oil over medium-high heat for 2 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Transfer mixture from skillet to a large bowl. In the skillet, heat the cream cheese and half-and-half over medium-low heat until smooth. Stir in the 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese. Stir in zucchini; heat through. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Additional Parmesan cheese can be added, if preferred. Cooked chicken (2 c. diced) or cooked shrimp can be added.
Finalist recipe submitted by Gerri Gallagher, Erie.
Quick Buying Tips for Fresh Pennsylvania Zucchini
— Zucchini should be relatively small – ideally 6 to 7 inches or shorter – especially for eating raw, sautéing or stir-frying.
— Pick zucchini that are firm and fairly heavy for their size with a glossy skin.
— Avoid zucchini with dull, nicked or pitted skin.