It was confusing to go to Europe and hear the noble zucchini called a “courgette.” This is the French term for the vegetable that Nigel Slater, in comparison to the lilting, sparkling Italian name, deemed “flaccid.” I agree — a zucchini is a zucchini is a zucchini.
Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve used the word too many times, I imagine most gardeners and farmers market attendees are already sick of the zucchini. It’s July and the weather is hot, and those veggies just love to grow to immense proportions under their wide leaves while those who tend them take refuge from the sun. I’ve experienced the shock of finding a femur-sized zuke in the garden, when just the day before there weren’t any of harvesting size. Thankfully, there are plenty of Internet recipe indexes for zucchini recipes, ranging from sweet to savory.
Zucchini bread is a nice way to slip the veggie into a sweet breakfast-y snack, and it was always a staple around our house during the summer months. Zucchini also pairs well with tomatoes and basil, two more hallmarks of summertime garden bounty, and a simple dish of all three stewed down to a warm mush makes a great accompaniment to pasta or a glass of wine, with a simple shaving of Parmesan to finish. Lately, I’ve been adding sliced and diced zucchini to all sorts of veg-protein sautes and fry-ups, and as a rather bland vegetable it easily takes on the flavors of whatever else is in the dish.
I turned a recent zucchini into a little frittata, and paired with a green salad and some sliced tomatoes, it made for a nice supper.
Zucchini Frittata with Bacon + Basil
1/2 large zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds
2 strips thick bacon
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 large eggs
1-2 Tbsp. butter
While preheating the oven to 375 degrees, melt butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet. Remove, and swirl butter around pan to coat the bottom. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, s+p, and fresh basil. Pour into skillet and arrange zucchini slices, fitting them close together and dunking them down into the egg mixture. Slice bacon strips in half, once lengthwise, and once again widthwise. Slide bacon strips down into pan, fitting them into the egg and in between zucchini. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, then decrease heat to 300 and bake until firm, about 15 more minutes.
(P.S. I’m calling it now: the new “it” flavor pairing is bacon + basil. SO GOOD.)
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Here are some of my favorite zucchini recipes from around the blogosphere:
The original chocolate & zucchini cake.
And this just looks terrible.