We are at the zucchini glut time of year. Perhaps you, as have I, been searching high and low for something to do with the vegetable, other than what they always say you can do—make zucchini bread, make zucchini boats, sauté it with tomatoes and onions, zucchini pancakes.
Smaller zucchinis are easier to deal with, but the humongous, sneaky zucchini unfailingly inflict on me combined feelings of despair, shame and guilt. Despite my diligent efforts to pick them while they are still tender and petite, I always end up finding giant squash hulking in my garden, testimony to my negligence.
What do you do with those big guys, with their huge seeds and spongy flesh? After years of experimentation, resulting in mediocre outcomes (zucchini lasagna? Give me a break!), I have decided that shredding is the only option.
So today I offer some ideas that may be a little different than the usual litany of zucchini clichés. Three recipes you can make with that one BIG zucchini. To shred it, I scoop out the spongy seed area and rip the rest of the vegetable through my Cuisinart. Mix the shreds in a colander and with a teaspoon of salt, place over a bowl so the zuke can drip-drip-drip its juices.
Give them some time, maybe an hour or so, and then squeeze the shreds so that the juices all drip into the bowl. You will have two products—zucchini shreds and a lovely green clear liquid.
The first recipe is a clever and refreshing little zucchini cocktail, adapted from www.setthetable.com .
Zucchini + Sea Salt Vodka Cooler
Combine a jigger of zucchini juice, vodka and a couple of squirts of lemon juice in a glass with ice. Pour in some plain soda to give it a sparkle. Sprinkle it with a little sea salt, garnish and serve.
Could it be any easier? And such a conversation starter! (Although the vodka also helps)
If the original size of your mega-squash is about a foot, you should have at least four cups of shredded zuke. This is enough for two large loaves of some decent zucchini bread.
I know, more zucchini bread recipes, right? But this one has a Foodie-san twist, and it’s not too boring.
Five-Spice and Sesame Oil Zucchini Bread
This is really nice for breakfast with a little cream cheese on top. I adapted it from https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sesame-cashew-zucchini-bread
If you already have your food processor out, you are in luck—whirl together 6 eggs, 2.5 cups of sugar, 1.5 cups of oil, ½ C of sesame oil, and 2 T vanilla. In another bowl, mix 4 cups of flour with 4 teaspoons each of baking soda, and Chinese five spice powder, along with 2 teaspoons each of baking powder and salt. Combine the liquids, the solids, your 4 cups of shredded zucchini and a cup of walnut pieces. Then dump them into 2 greased loaf pans and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour.
When I made this bread yesterday, I ended up with an extra cup or so of shreds. I remembered a pasta salad that I used to make decades ago that was pretty good. I understand, thank God, that pasta salads are once again in fashion. So I made…..
Orzo Pesto Salad
A really nice little summer salad!
Cook up some orzo, I was just making it for my little family, so I used a half package, but you could do more. Throw in your shreds and add some pesto (I used a combination of basil pesto and garlic scape pesto that I have lingering in my refrigerator), a handful of pine nuts and bits of ricotta and mozzarella. If you have some little tomatoes, that would be nice too. Mix in some olive oil and a little lemon juice and serve over arugula.
And don’t forget, you can also freeze shredded zucchini and zucchini juice for later in the year when you are not so tired of summer squash.