Zucchini Five Ways: My Date With a Monster!

Milos, Greece

marrow

Hi all,

We were given a giant zucchini (courgette) by the owner of Mikros Apoplous restaurant in Adamas while we were having lunch there. Here is the result of the challenge I set myself as promised in my comment on Beth’s post. Em says it’s a marrow. I don’t know,  I’ll let you decide.

So here we go. This big bruiser became: 1. peppy roasted snack seeds, 2. puree with pesto , 3. roasted cubes,  4.baked semi-circles, and 5. grated shards to toss in mixed salad or slaw. Each had a different texture and flavour…and if I do say so myself, each was delicious.

still life with phone

Ingredients:

1 monster zucchini, marrow or squash

spices such as hot paprika, cumin, coriander and/or your own personal favourites

fresh or dry oregano

pesto sauce: fresh or from a jar

1 large clove garlic

salt and freshly ground pepper

Seeds: Start by cutting the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds. Pull off any bits of flesh clinging to them and rinse well. Spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet and let dry. Next, add seasonings of your choice. I sprinkled salt and pepper plus hot paprika and cumin, but that was the mood I was in at the moment. As they say, ‘go where your heart leads you’. The seeds need a little oil but I put a big emphasis on the word little. Back at school when we used to toast pumpkin seeds for Halloween, we’d end up with a greasy mess if somebody was too generous with the oil. I had over one cup of seeds and used one teaspoon of olive oil and that was about right. Stir everything around and get the seeds back into a single layer. If the mixture looks too dry, add a few more drops of oil. Bake in a preheated 150 degree centigrade/ 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for about fifteen minutes. Let cool. Keep in an airtight container if you don’t eat them all in one go.

Pureed, Baked,and Roasted : Take one half of the leviathan. Cut bands about two inches wide leaving a good chunk at the end. Set the biggest semicircles aside-one per person. Make two inch cubes from the rest of the semi-circles and slice the rind off each. This is bit tedious. Throw the cubes and semi-circles into the colander and sprinkle with lots of salt and let them sit over night or at least a couple of hours to let the excess water come out. When ready, take about half the cubes and boil gently in salted water until just tender. Drain and mash, adding a good drizzle of the best olive oil you have. Add one tablespoon of pesto sauce. Taste and add more pesto sauce to taste. Adjust seasoning. Put the rest of the cubes in a bowl, add garlic, sea salt and oregano and a glug of oil (as if you were doing roasted potatoes). Spread in a single layer over half a baking sheet. Put the demi-rings on the baking sheet and brush with a very little oil.  Season with salt pepper and some ground coriander (thyme would be nice too, or a little maple syrup or honey). Bake in the same oven as the seeds but for about half an hour. Turn once during the baking time.

Shards: Grate what’s left of the flesh on the coarsest holes, sprinkle with salt and put in a sieve over a bowl. They will dry out quite a lot. Sprinkle a mixed salad with these shards to add extra texture and a bit of a nutty flavour. They would be also be a good addition to a pear and fennel, or cabbage slaw.

salad

We had a great and filling lunch with all the variations. Oh, and the other half is still in the fridge. Guess what’s for dinner. Ha!

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13 thoughts on “Zucchini Five Ways: My Date With a Monster!

  1. Beth @ Culinary Correspondence July 8, 2015 at 7:02 pm Reply

    Wow, that’s only half??? Incredible! I’m with Emi on this one – definitely a marrow. I didn’t even know you the seeds could get so big that you could toast them! All of these variations look and sound delicious. The puree in particular is calling my name. I’ll have to try it out when I’m finished with my course and I can start cooking whatever I want again 🙂 Good luck with the other half!!

    • Jan July 9, 2015 at 10:23 am Reply

      I just finished wrangling with what was left. The rings were so delicious, I made more. They reminded me of when my mom made acorn squash. Also, the puree is really a blank canvas-I used pesto because it was handy but I’m thinking about that leftover asparagus puree from the risotto you made for dad and I….hmm.

  2. ellenfetu July 8, 2015 at 8:28 pm Reply

    Hi Jan. great post! I made zucchini noodles last night with a good tomato and basil sauce.

    Been thinking about you, wondering how you are. In Greece thus…awaiting the family?

    Anne and her girls are here in France. We are just finishing ten days in Paris, canicule included … that was tough…Leaving for Brittany tomorrow, ten days at the beach.

    Are you being affected by the situation in Greece? silly question, of course you are. To what extent? I would imagine it is very upsetting.

    We are headed to Wisconsin Aug 6. Life is moving too fast…

    Wishing you good times!

    Ellen

    >

    • Jan July 9, 2015 at 10:26 am Reply

      Hey Ellen, I’m sure you’ll get some cool breezes in Brittany. The situation in Greece is catastrophic but here on Milos there are no lines at the atm’s and there is a bank open. The mood is grim even if the sun is shining.Everyone here is putting on a brave face to make sure the tourists have a wonderful time.

  3. veganneeds July 8, 2015 at 9:17 pm Reply

    haha… the monster in the title got me 🙂
    awesome recipe!
    just started following you, I have a vegan blog as well, http://www.veganneeds.com

    • Jan July 9, 2015 at 10:27 am Reply

      Welcome and thanks for dropping by. Looking forward to browsing on your blog for inspiration.

    • Beth @ Culinary Correspondence July 9, 2015 at 3:20 pm Reply

      Just followed you as well 🙂

      • veganneeds July 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        🙂 thank you!

  4. Emily @ culinarycorrespondence.com July 9, 2015 at 7:09 am Reply

    Challenge accomplished mom!!! WOW! I am on the hunt for one of those mega zucchinis. I want to try the seeds for sure- though it all sounds amazing and healthy. What did you make with the rest?!

    • Jan July 9, 2015 at 10:31 am Reply

      Hey there-the seeds are delish but they do go soft so I’m going to retoast ours. I’m making more of the roasted cubes-they get golden and gorgeous like roast potatoes, and the half-rings that get sweet and tender. It was good fun doing something different. I remember my dad giving all the ‘overgrown’ garden stuff to a neighbour who’s brother had a farm for his livestock. Little did we know!

  5. Hanin July 9, 2015 at 7:30 am Reply

    Hola Jan,
    Wow talk about a big challenge! haha
    Well done, all recipes sound delicious, zucchinis are my favorite vegetable!
    I believe there is enough left for zucchini pasta… although this big monster wont fit in the spiralizer…
    Thanks for sharing and lots of kisses,
    Wishing we were there with you (and I am not saying that just for the food…;))

    • Jan July 9, 2015 at 10:33 am Reply

      We wish you were here too! All of you. The painters should be finished by the end of today so, anytime anyone wants to drop by, we’ll be thrilled!

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