This phyllo-crusted savory pie is packed with caramelized summer zucchini. It is a wonderful way to gobble up an abundance of fresh squash from the garden or your CSA share. 🙂 I loved that it was baked in a cast iron skillet too.
The recipe was adapted from thekitchn.com, contributed by Grace Elkus. We ate it for dinner with a green salad but it could also be served for a special brunch or lunch- an amazing summer meal.
One of our absolute favorite dinner sandwiches is filled with garlicky grilled eggplant and feta cheese. After seeing this recipe, I kept thinking about making this version on freshly baked sourdough bread. I loved the idea of slathering the bread with fresh ricotta cheese too. Yum!
The recipe was adapted from SaraMoulton.com. I used my favorite recipe for fresh ricotta and served the sandwiches on homemade sourdough bread. I added garlic and grilled the vegetables instead of roasting them as well. We ate them with creamy cucumber-avocado salad on the side. It was an amazing vegetarian meal.
Yield: 4 servings
1 small to medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
2 medium to large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
6 to 8 Campari tomatoes or 6 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
The evening before serving the meal, start the homemade sourdough bread process, if using. Bake the bread the day of the meal. (Alternatively, use another crusty bread or whole grain bread.)
Place the vegetable slices in a single layer on a cutting board or rimmed baking sheet; season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Crush the garlic cloves with a garlic press and spread the garlic over the top of the eggplant slices. Let rest a minimum of 30 minutes (the longer the better).
Meanwhile, prepare the fresh ricotta cheese. I made it according to the recipe but simmered the mixture for approximately 5 minutes, until it was visibly curdling. I strained it for about 15 minutes and omitted the addition of lemon zest. (The longer it is strained, the thicker the consistency.) Set aside.
Brush both sides of the eggplant and tomato slices with olive oil. Toss the zucchini slices with olive oil.
Grill the vegetables separately until slightly charred and tender; grill the eggplant directly on the grates and grill the zucchini and tomato slices using a grill basket. (Alternatively, the vegetables can be roasted on parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheets in a 425 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.)
Divide the warm ricotta among 4 slices of bread and top with the hot vegetables and remaining 4 slices of bread. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.
Note: Making fresh ricotta can have varied results- sometimes it has large curds, sometimes it has small curds and occasionally it has no curds. If this should happen to you, don’t panic, just add another tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and the curds will appear.
This raw zucchini salad was lovely. I loved the contrasting texture from the crunchy almond topping. The dressing was also wonderfully bright and flavorful.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Alexa Weibel. I used a mini food processor to quickly prepare the dressing. We ate this as a side with grilled chicken but it would also be perfect to serve as a light lunch.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1small to medium shallot
2 T capers, chopped, plus 2 teaspoons caper brine
zest of one lemon (about 1 tsp)
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3medium zucchini or summer squash (6 to 7 ounces each), or a combination
1/3cup shaved Pecorino-Romano cheese
1/4cup torn fresh basil, plus more for garnish, if desired
1/4cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish, if desired
1/3cup roasted salted almonds, chopped
In the bowl of a mini food processor, mince the shallot and garlic.
Add the oil, capers, caper brine, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine.
Season with salt and pepper, pulse again. Set aside. (Alternatively, the dressing can be made in a small bowl.)
Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut each squash into 2-inch segments. Slice the segments lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slabs, then slice those slabs lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick batons. Add to a large bowl.
Just before serving, season the zucchini with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Stir in the cheese, herbs and dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with the almonds. Garnish with additional herbs, if desired. Serve immediately.
To say that this wonderful summer cake was moist would be the understatement. 😉 What a fabulous use for zucchini! Everyone has an extra zucchini and ultra-ripe bananas this time of year too.
This recipe was adapted from Nancy-c.com. I incorporated light brown sugar and whole wheat pastry flour and decreased the nutmeg. I also added salt and vanilla to the frosting. This cake was even better the next day. Fabulous.
Yield: one 9×13 cake, about 12 to 16 servings
For the Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large or extra-large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
Preheat oven to 350˚F, preferably on convection.
Grease a 9 x 13″ pan, line with parchment paper, grease again. (I used cooking oil spray.) Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.
Add in egg and vanilla, then stir in mashed bananas and blend everything well.
In medium bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
Add flour mixture to butter-sugar-banana mixture. Blend until combined.
Fold in zucchini and mix until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared 9 x 13″ pan and bake at 350˚F for 25 minutes, or until edges brown and pull from sides.
Let bars cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or light cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
pinch coarse salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer or medium bowl, blend softened cream cheese and softened butter.
Mix in salt and vanilla until well combined.
Add in powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition, scraping down the sides, as needed.
Spread evenly over completely cooled bars, then cut and serve.
Note: If serving later, keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftover cake.
As if my CSA zucchini wasn’t enough, my friend brought me more beautiful zucchini from her garden. I made four loaves of this bread (two batches) with a single zucchini! Amazing.
This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen. I incorporated whole wheat flour. As suggested, I used less sugar and also omitted the add-ins. We ate some, shared some, and froze some for later. This loaf improves with time- perfect to make the night before serving it for breakfast. I imagine it would also be delicious lightly toasted and topped with butter.
Yield: 2 loaves or 24 muffins
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sunflower oil (can also used olive oil or another vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (can also used half (or even all) turbinado or half light brown sugar)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out (from about 10 oz zucchini)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1 to 2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or chocolate chips (or a combination), optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
Generously grease 2 loaf pans (8×4 or 9×5) with butter and flour or with nonstick spray. Alternatively, grease 24 standard muffin cups or line with paper liners.
Whisk eggs, oil, butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bottom of a large bowl.
Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt over the wet ingredients and whisk them in well.
Stir in zucchini.
Gently stir in flours, mixing only until incorporated.
Fold in any add-ins, if using.
Divide between prepared pans and bake for 55 to 65 minutes for a loaf, 20 to 25 minutes for muffins, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes on a rack before inverting and removing from the pans. The loaves can also cool completely in pans.
Store wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to 5 days. Loaves also freeze well.
I have a couple more zucchini recipes to share. I receive a healthy amount of zucchini in my CSA share and I enjoy finding new dishes to make with all of it. I recently roasted a zucchini or two with fresh thyme and CSA onions, then added my special CSA corn (raw), and used it as a calzone filling. Delicious!
I knew that I would really enjoy this wonderful zucchini dish because it incorporates farro and arugula- my favorites. I ate it as a main course but my husband ate it as a side with grilled chicken and roasted potatoes. Everyone was happy. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I roasted the zucchini and increased the amount of arugula. I also decreased the amount of salt and oil and used a combination of basil, predominantly, with parsley, and oregano in the finished dish.
1cup soft, fragrant herbs, such basil, mint, tarragon, or a combination, roughly torn or cut
freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 large handfuls of arugula
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Parmigiano Reggiano, for shaving
Rinse and drain the farro and chickpeas. Add both to a medium pot with 2 large pinches of salt and add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, skim foam from the top, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until farro is tender, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, divide your squash haul in half. With one group, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick planks. Reserve the other 1/2 pound for later.
Place the zucchini planks on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 to 2 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a preheated 425 degree oven, roast the zucchini planks until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes per side. (I set my oven to convention roast.)
Transfer browned zucchini to a shallow dish and, if desired, cut the planks into 2-inch pieces. (I cut mine.)
In a small bowl, whisk together 4 T olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and half the herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour about half the dressing over the zucchini and let marinate while you finish making the salad. Set remaining dressing aside.
Use a vegetable peeler to shave the rest of the zucchini into ribbons (here’s the easiest way: lay the zucchini on a cutting board, then drag the peeler across it). If your farro is far from done, you can preserve the zucchini strands by soaking them in cold salt water. Drain and pat dry before using.
Drain the farro and chickpeas and transfer to a large mixing bowl. (I returned mine to the pot.)
Toss with the reserved dressing and season with salt and pepper.
Add arugula, zucchini ribbons, marinated zucchini, lemon juice and Parmesan shavings. Gently toss to combine and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and top with the remaining herbs and more arugula and Parmesan, as desired.
I celebrated a milestone birthday earlier this summer. Part of my birthday celebration was inspired by this dish. 🙂
The James Beard-nominated chef and owner of Dirt Candy in NYC, Amanda Cohen, was featured on Sara Moulton’s PBS series. She prepared a cocktail along with this zucchini dish from her menu. Dirt Candy is a very unique vegetarian restaurant and I knew the only way I could get my entire family to dine there was for a birthday meal. We went for a birthday brunch celebration and then spent the day enjoying NYC.
Cohen explained that although she is not a vegetarian, she feels that a chef can be much more innovative when creating dishes without being limited by simply pairing sides with a protein. The brunch menu included a mushroom coffee cake on our visit. My son ate the whole thing! Our favorite dish was the Brussels sprout tacos, served with lettuce wraps and a platter of small bowls of topping choices. Delicious. We finished our meal with cucumber sorbet topped with a birthday candle. 🙂
The zucchini pasta recipe was adapted from Sara Moulton.com. I modified the proportions and the method. The saffron made the dish exceptional. I also made homemade Greek yogurt labneh to incorporate into the dish. The labneh recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit via epicurious.com, contributed by Tom Scherlitz.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
To Make Greek Yogurt Labneh: (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups plain 2% Greek yogurt
Line a large sieve with cheesecloth; set over a medium deep bowl.
Place yogurt in sieve. Gather edges of cheesecloth to cover yogurt. Place in refrigerator and let drain for 2-3 days. (I let it drain for 48 hours.
Gently squeeze out any excess liquid; discard liquid in bowl (yogurt will be very thick and resemble soft goat cheese).
For the Zucchini Pasta Dish:
2 to 3 medium zucchini or 4 cups baby zucchini (I used 2 1/2 medium zucchini)
6 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
pinch of saffron
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups labneh, recipe above
1 to 2 pounds zucchini spiral noodles
8 to 12 oz angel hair pasta
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup chiffonade basil or mint
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup squash blossoms sliced thinly, optional
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
If using medium zucchini, slice in half and then into 1/4″ half moons. If using the baby zucchini , cut into rounds.
Toss the cut zucchini with 4 T of the olive oil.
Grill over high heat until the zucchini has developed char marks, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, cook the angel hair pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups of pasta water.
In a pan over medium heat add the remaining 2 T of olive oil, saffron and the garlic. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute, turn the heat to low and add the labneh and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water.
Stir slowly, incorporating everything together.
Toss the sauce with the zucchini noodles, the angel hair pasta, the herbs, the lemon juice, and the lemon zest.
Adjust seasonings and then divide between 4 bowls.
Sprinkle each bowl with the squash blossom ribbons, if using, as well as minced herbs, as desired.