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
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
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.