Middle Eastern zucchini fritters

I just love these and the combination of feta cheese, dill and mint takes the flavor so far above anything else.

These are lovely served hot or cold with tsatsiki. (yoghurt, cucumber, mint and onion)

 

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Serves 4

1 large onion, chopped coarsely
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 lb zucchini, chopped finely
3 large eggs
3 tbsp plain flour
3 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
3 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
8 oz Greek feta cheese. mashed with a fork
oil for frying

Fry the onion in 3 tbsp oil over a medium heat until it is soft and lightly colored. Add the zucchini and saute, stirring, until they too are soft.
In a bowl, beat the eggs with the flour until well blended. Add pepper (there is no need for salt as the feta is salty enough) and the herbs and mix well.
Fold the mashed feta cheese into the eggs, together with the cooked onions and zucchini.
Fil the bottom of a (preferably) non-stick frying pan with oil and pour in the mixture by the half ladle (approx 2 tbsp) to make a few fritters at a time.
Turn each fritter over once and cook until both sides are browned a little.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve.

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Grilled zucchini with ricotta and pomegranate molasses

This fast, simple but stunning side dish by chef Timothy Hollingsworth makes grilled zucchini so much more interesting. Featured in Food and Wine Magazine.

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Servings: 6

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 lbs medium zucchini or yellow squash, quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and Pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp loosely packed tarragon leaves, chopped

Put the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over moderately low heat and cook, stirring, until toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.
Light a grill or use a very heavy ridged pan over a hot gas flame.
Toss the zucchini with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini over high heat, turning once, until charred and just tender, about 7 minutes.
Transfer to a work surface and cut into 1-inch pieces. Arrange on a platter and top with dollops of the ricotta and the toasted pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the zucchini with the pomegranate molasses, garnish with the chopped tarragon and serve.

Indian shrimp with zucchini, cilantro and coriander

This is a mild spiced Indian dish that comes together in no time. It uses both fresh cilantro and ground coriander which are actually from the same plant.
For the very best flavor, grind your coriander seeds rather than use the pre-ground coriander.

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Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup canned coconut cream (unsweetened)
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
hot, cooked rice for serving

In a large (12 inch) nonstick skillet, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the zucchini, onion, ginger, jalapeno and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the ground coriander, turmeric and salt. Stir until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp begins to turn opaque, about 1 minute.

Add the coconut cream and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve immediately with the rice

Crustless zucchini, onion and ricotta pie

This gorgeous, savory summer pie with a base of fresh ricotta and eggs seasoned with shallots, garlic, and pecorino cheese is the answer to an overly abundant vegetable crop. This version from Italy’s Piedmont region is made with zucchini and onions, but feel free to substitute with peppers, eggplant, squash, even tomatoes.

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Serves 6

1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
6 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup grated pecorino cheese (not pre-grated)
1⁄2 cup ricotta
1⁄2 cup roughly chopped parsley
4 eggs, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. bread crumbs

Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic and shallot until golden, 4–6 minutes.
Add the zucchini, cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Let cool. Stir in the pecorino, ricotta, parsley, eggs, salt, and pepper.
Heat the oven to 350°F
Grease a 10″ pie plate with butter and coat with bread crumbs.
Spread the zucchini mixture evenly over top; bake until golden on top and slightly puffed, 40–45 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Patricia Wells’ Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios

When you just can’t look another zucchini in the face, put it on a pedestal. Raw zucchini can be spongy, bitter and strangely sticky, so pamper it like Patricia Wells does here, by shaving it into delicate ribbons, then bathing them in a lemony marinade.

A trusted mandoline makes a big difference here — and if you don’t have one, you’re better off opting for a vegetable peeler than a sharp knife. You want planks as thin as flower petals.

There will be leftover lemon salt. Swirl it into buttered pasta; dust it on blanched green beans; put a pinch on a dark chocolate cookie.

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Serves 4 (as a meal) Lemon Zest Salt:

1 tbsp lemon zest, preferably organic
1 tbsp fine sea salt

Combine the lemon zest and salt in a spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a small jar and close the lid. (Store, sealed in the jar, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. After that the lemon flavor will begin to fade.)

Salad:

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt
3 tablespoons best-quality pistachio oil (such as Leblanc) or extra-virgin olive oil
4 small, fresh zucchini (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and trimmed at both ends
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup salted pistachios
Leaves from 4 fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible
Fleur de sel

In a small jar with a lid, combine the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt. Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Add the oil and shake to blend.
With a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or very sharp chef’s knife slice the zucchini lengthwise as thin as possible. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the zucchini absorbs the dressing and does not dry out.
Halve, pit, and peel the avocado, and cut it lengthwise into very thin slices. Carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts. Garnish with the thyme leaves and flowers and fleur de sel.
Serve and enjoy!

Zucchini Parmesan

This is a simple layered casserole with three elements: roasted zucchini, a really good homemade tomato sauce and Parmesan.
Roasting, rather than frying the zucchini, allows you to cut down on olive oil and time.
Thanks to Martha Rose Shulman

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6 servings

For the tomato sauce:
2 to 2½ lbs fresh ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
Salt and pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
2 good sprigs fresh basil
1 & 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

For the zucchini Parmesan:
2 to 2¼ lbs zucchini
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ to 1 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste
¾ to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

If you have a food mill, quarter tomatoes. If not, peel, seed and chop them. (See step 5.)

To make the tomato sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and basil sprigs. Increase the heat to medium-high.

When the tomatoes are bubbling briskly, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and are beginning to stick to pan, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on consistency. Remove the basil sprigs; taste and adjust seasoning.
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Line 2 sheet pans with parchment. Trim the ends off the zucchini and cut in half crosswise, then into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Season on both sides with salt and pepper and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange the zucchini slices on baking sheets in one layer and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Roast for 12 minutes, until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.

If using a food mill, put the sauce through a medium blade. If not, pulse the sauce in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until just coarsely puréed. Stir in the chopped basil.

To assemble the dish, oil a 2-quart gratin with olive oil. Spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce over the bottom of dish. Arrange a third of the zucchini in an even layer over the tomato sauce. Spoon a third of the remaining sauce over zucchini and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Repeat with 2 more layers, ending with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon olive oil.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and browned on the top and edges. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Turkish stuffed zucchini

A really super vegetarian main course, or a side to a protein meal. Very tasty with hot bubbling cheese.

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Serves 6 to 8
4 medium zucchini halved lengthways
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and ground pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 oz strong cheddar cheese, grated
3 oz Greek feta, crumbled
1 & 1/2 tbsp all – purpose flour
1 tbsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp paprika, to sprinkle

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Scoop insides of zucchini with a spoon or melon baller, leaving  a 1/2 inch rim.
Place zucchini in a 9″ by 13″ baking dish; set aside.
Chop scooped-out zucchini.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped zucchini, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 – 6 minutes
Add salt and pepper; transfer to a bowl. Lightly mix in eggs. cheeses, flour and dill.
Spoon mixture into zucchini halves. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake until hot, 30 minutes or so.
Serve hot or at room temperature.