Sunday, July 18, 2010

All Things Zucchini

I have a love of this time of year, when the zucchini in the garden resembles "Audrey 2" from Little Shop of Horrors and takes over my world. It's abundance makes me feel rich in possibilities. The sheer act of shredding zucchini for fritters forces me to pause and think how I can speed up "The Golden Goose" (actually it's a duck) section of my play. Chopping zucchini for soup opens up a sliver of creativity. Doing somethung mundane releases the brain to the improbable and possible.
The sheer ability to walk across my yard for dinner is a huge smiling nod for the simplicity of summer. I took a page out of many bloggers' postings for inspiration. The zucchini morphed from a raw zucchini salad to fritters to soup.
Taking a page out of Ciao Chow Linda's book Zucchini Carpaccio

Linda studded hers with pine nuts and herbs. I played with herbs, lemon zest and black olives.
Zucchini Carpaccio - serves 4
2 medium zucchini - thinly sliced
lemon salt
zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 cup of chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley
1/4 cup arugula
1/2 cup your favorite sliced, black olives
extra virgin olive oil
shavings of ricotta salata
Put your sliced zucchini in a colander lined with paper towels. Add your salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. (You may omit this step - if I have time I will dry out the zucchini with the salt so it soaks in more of the lemon and oil). Place zucchini in serving bowl. Zest a Meyer lemon over it. Then cut it in half and squeeze out the lemon juice. The Meyer lemon juice has a sweet taste. Toss in your herbs and sliced olives and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss well. Shave ricotta salata over all and serve.
The zucchini fritters were inspired by Reeni from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice.

Zucchini Fritters - serves 4 (Makes 8 small fritters)
4 small zucchini
1 egg
2 small cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped Italian parlsey
2-3 zucchini blossoms (washed and dried - if you have)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4-1/2 cup canola or olive oil (I used canola oil)
Again optional: but you can shred your zucchini and salt them. Put them in colander lined with paper towels and let them drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Whisk egg in large bowl. Add shredded zucchini (I simply shred with a vegetable peeler - it allows me to "space out" for a time.) Add flour and herbs. Cut your zucchini blossoms into the mixture. Grate your Parmigiano into the mixture. Combine well. Heat olive oil till a drop of water thrown into the oil sizzles. Drop one heaping tablespoon of mixture into the oil. Fry about two at a time. Fry 1-2 minutes per side - until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels. Serve with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche. I know they're deep-fried! But they're only two bites! Two per serving.
And as a confirmed soup-a-holic, even in the heat of summer - I crave soup. For the zucchini soup, I added a potato for heft, herbs for tang and and savory and milk for smoothness.

Zucchini Soup - serves 4
4 small zucchini or 2 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter
1/4-1/2 cup chopped red or white onion
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
1 large potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup basil
1/2 cup Italian parsley
2 cups whole milk
Shred a few thin zucchini threads for garnish. Chop all your vegetables - they do not need to be uniform or very small - they will be pureed. Melt butter in medium-large soup pot. When butter foams add your chopped onion and garlic. Saute 2-3 minutes till the onion softens. Add your chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add your potato and simmer for five minutes. Add zucchini and herbs and simmer another 10 minutes (Until potato and zucchini are soft.) Cool for a few minutes.
In 2-3 batches, pulse soup mixture with some of the milk in a food processor till smooth. Return to pot, add remaining milk and simmer five minutes. Serve with ribbons of zucchini, dollops of Greek yogurt and/or croutons. I wish I had a zucchini blossom to float in it!

I get enough drama at the theatre. But Mother Nature thought I needed more. The Twin Cities seemed to be tornado alley last night. The skies did their version of "Shake, Rattle and Roll." We hovered in the basement till all was clear. With the cat. And the dog. We were lucky - just downed branches and no one went to Oz. Did I tell you that I have a healthy respect for Nature? Its bounty, its fury and its beauty.


Kath said...

I'm very glad to have discovered your blog, Claudia! Your zucchini recipes look fantastic. I hope I have some zucchini in my garden before summer is over. It's been a cool one here in Seattle.

Kate said...

All three look fabulous. We got a wonderful zucchini in our CSA basket yesterday so I'm debating what to make. Either the zucchini basil soup a friend sent or the carpacio... Hmmm. Decisions, Decisions. Thank you!

FOODESSA said...

You may not have lots of figs...but you certainly are blessed with zucchini ;O)
We're still waiting and ohhh do I miss having my own garden.

Sorry to hear abour Mommy Nature's upset...glad to know you're safe.

Have a great week and flavourful wishes,

Mister Meatball said...

I must admit that the fritters are calling out to be -- in a big way!

Look delicious.

Actually, I've been gorging on fried zucchini flowers all week. Probably post some pics soon.

Koci said...

Wow, those zucchini fritters look great! Glad you made it through the stormy weather safe and sound.

Heather S-G said...

NOM! The zucchini fritters look soooo good =) We had similar weather a few weeks back...I also have the utmost respect. Glad ur ok!

Megan @ Foodalution said...

You are right... zucchini just seems to take over... everything! I love the zucchini carpaccio. I love eating raw when and can and this looks delish.. even my kids will like it.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Thanks for the shout-out. I love all your zucchini recipes and can't wait to try out the fritters. Glad you and the family (and cat) didn't get hurt in that nasty storm.

Monet said...

I would have to say that the zucchini fritters would be hard to resist. I love those things, and if there is a plate in front of me...I can't stop myself. Yum!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Zukes are the best, love the way they look and taste in everything, stews stuffed salads and these fritters are perfect side.... I normally just dip them in flour and this is a flavorful treat and must try those fritters...hope you enjoy a bountiful of them and the rest of your summer you are out to a fabulous start of recipes with this summer veggie !!!!

Unknown said...

I was going to ask you how you fared in the weather last night. My sis lives in Minneapolis and said they were clocking 80 mph winds. I'm glad you came out of it with just a limb down! I love the look of the's in my near future!

OysterCulture said...

Glad to hear everyone is ok with the tornados. Its funny here in California everyone seems to fear the tornados and back in the midwest everyone fears the earthquakes. Don'e even get me started with living on the east coast and the hurricanes.

Totally changing subjects, I love the creative uses you came up with for your zucchini bounty. The soup looks so refreshing, and I have such a soft spot for fritters.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I'm glad you all survived that nasty storm without much damge, Claudia!

Your zucchini recipes look delicious. I know the carpacio is healthier but the fritters are calling my name!

My brother made "mock apple betty" using some of his bumper zucchini this weekend was surprisingly good, and yes, the zucchini did taste like apples when they were covered with brownsugar and cinnamon and baked.!

Bo said...

The fritters are my pic...they look so good...well really all of the recipes do.

Sutapa said...

All your zucchini recipes are wonderful! I would definitely try your zucchini fritters!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I was really enjoying all of the zucchini until I got to the fallen tree and the tornado. I was afraid to read more. Thank goodness everything is okay. Tornados visited Arkansas where I grew up a lot, so I know.

You've come up with some great ways to use zucchini. I especially love the fritters.

Carol Egbert said...

I use a mandolin to turn the outer, green part of zucchini into 'noodles' Sautéed in a little bit of garlic and oil they are lovely topped with a bit of tomato sauce. The trick is to not cook them too long and to only use the outer green.

Jen_from_NJ said...

Thank you for the great zucchini ideas - I sure can use them right now. The ricotta salata sounds great on the carpaccio. I am glad that you are all safe too!

Juliana said...

Claudia, all the zucchini based recipes look fabulous...thank you so much for sharing them, will definitely try the fritters :-)

theUngourmet said...

I didn't get any zucchini planted this year. I miss having it so handy. These all look divine! Glad you didn't end up in Oz! ;)

Donna-FFW said...

email me and I can tell you another use for zucchini.. oking with you Claudia, its why you luv me;)

Angie's Recipes said...

Love zucchini! Be soup, salad or fritters!

Claudia said...

Carol: Thanks for the tip (literally!). I shall try zucchini noodles.
Donna: You're just plain naughty.But I know that!

Thanks for all good wishes!

Mary Bergfeld said...

It's final inning and the bases are loaded with zucchini :-). I love these recipes and can assure you they'll be out to good use in the next few weeks. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Barbara GF said...

All things zucchini, indeed, Claudia. You're right, like Audrey they take over. I love your recipes and inspiration for using my bounty. And there is nothing like taking a walk out to the garden to decide, "What's for dinner?"
Glad you weathered the storm - seems there is so much extreme weather these days.

DANIELA said...


Reeni said...

A zucchini lover's haven Claudia! Thanks for the shout out! Zucchini soup is one way I haven't tried it. Looks so creamy and delicious! You inspired me back. Glad all is well after the storm.

Drick said...

3 beautiful recipes ... all so interesting and uses zucchini to its best in delivering flavor ... love them


It all looks amazing, but the fritters...mmmmm! Those little pockets of goodness could be my downfall!

Claudia said...

And ................
have fallen for zucchini (again) but not into Oz. (whew)

Stacey Snacks said...

Zucchini is so versatile, and I love it in that pasta and shrimp dish!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I don't think that there can ever be enough zucchini recipes to keep up with the bumper crop that arrives each year.
Sorry to hear about the storm. It does put into perspective the power of nature.

Lyndas recipe box said...

Thanks for these yummy zucchini ideas Claudia; we always have tons of this tasty veggie this time of year.
Glad that the storm wasn't as bad in your area.I hate having to go to the basement in bad weather, but at least it is safer. Storms are so pretty but many times deadly.

Laxmi Hiremath said...

Simple, yet inviting! Thanks for sharing.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

The Zucchini Carpaccio has me completely intrigued and I can't wait to try this!

Glad the storm did't leave behind too much destruction in your area.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RoseBelle said...

My husband is a fan of arugula and the rest of the family doesn't like it. I like your zucchini and arugula recipe. I'm going to give that a try.

Anonymous said...

I love this time of year for the zucchini as well. The recipes you've shared here look great...especially the fritters!

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Zucchini heaven!! Love the fritter version :)
Hope you're ok after the tornado :(



We Are Not Martha said...

Wow, these are the perfect ways to serve zucchini! The fritters are making me drool, but I love the idea of the carpaccio, too. I seriously NEED a garden!


Sook said...

Zucchini fritters are one of my favorites! They look delicious!

Anonymous said...

Oh, you have everything I love in this post...give me a courgette and you feed me a lifetime!
And yes, I agree, I also have a very big respect for nature and its forces. I'm happy that the fallen tree was the worst...

Sherry G said...

I've made many things with zucchini recently too. They are such a great veggie all year round!!

Kim said...

Sorry to hear about your bad weather. Glad to hear that no one was hurt.
Love your tribute to zucchini. It's wonderful to walk outside and gather ingredients for dinner and I love everything that you made!

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I do not have a garden but I so want to grow zucchini next year! I am so jealous of all the people who "complain" of zucchini coming out of there heads! I would love that problem! I saw these fritters on Reeni's blog too and instantly fell in love! Just haven't made them yet! Your other zucchini creations look wonderful too!

My Little Space said...

My goodness, lucky you that is not a big one! I'm pretty sure no one would ever like tornados. But those zucchine fritters did sound pretty comforting though. Hope you're having a great day.
Cheers, Kristy

Magic of Spice said...

I love those fritters:)

Lori Lynn said...

Oh dear, glad you are all OK.

Can't decide which recipe I like better, maybe the carpaccio, love your combination of ingredients with the olives and ricotta salata and meyer lemon...

Easy Salad Recipe said...
I'll share my zucchini recipe with you. I like your blog.