Thursday, September 3, 2009

Zucchini-be-gone

Gone is my love for zucchini. This happens every year: in May, I yearn for those first supple little slices, meltingly tasty and bright green. In July, I celebrate the first garden zucchini almost as enthusiastically as I celebrate the first tomato. In August, I fill our meal plans with them. I roast them, bake them, grill them and saute them.

And then September rolls around and I start to pray for a killing frost. A frost, a flood, even a blizzard, something to dull the vigor of the vines. By now, it's begun to seem almost menacing, the way they persist in filling my kitchen countertops with corpulent squashes. Don't they know they're no longer needed? Or even wanted? In a capitalist culture, there's something unsettling about beings that continue producing long after demand is met. Zucchini are a economic enigma. Adam Smith's worst nightmare.

I'm still using them, of course. But by now I'm going for covert employments of zucchini, as opposed to making them center stage. I shred them mercilessly, running the long green spindles one by one through my food processor as if it were a wood chipper. This is a recipe we adapted from an old Moosewood cookbook (circa 1973, I believe). It's ridded our kitchen of a scourge of zucchini many a time.

Zucchini-crusted "Pizza"

Crust:
3 1/2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
salt
3 eggs
1 cup cheese of your choice: mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, swiss, monterey jack, gouda or a combination
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Seasonings that coordinate with your topping choices (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make the crust, toss the grated zucchini together with a little salt, and leave it to sit in a colander for half an hour. This will sweat out the squashy juices, and make it crispen in the crust. Squeeze out the zucchini, and combine it in a bowl with the remaining crust ingredients. Oil a 9 x 13 baking dish, and spread the crust mixture thinly and evenly. Bake it on the top shelf of your oven (as close to the element as you can get it) for 25 minutes. Flick on your broiler, and let it go for another five minutes, just long enough to get a lovely golden-brown top. Pull it out of the oven, and pile on toppings.

Toppings:
A few combinations to try--

Tomato sauce, parmesan, mozzarella, and pepperoni or sausage
Mushrooms, olives, and mozzarella
Mushrooms and swiss or gouda
Black beans, salsa, and monterey jack or pepperjack cheese
White beans, broccoli, sliced fresh tomato, and mozzarella

No instructions needed: pile on your toppings, turn your oven down to 350, and slide it back in for another 20 minutes, until the cheese looks like it does in the picture.

Enjoy!


6 comments:

Gina said...

Wow I would have never thought to make pie crust with zucchini. I will have to try it next time I see some lonely zucchini at the market!

madsilence said...

I would kill for some of that zucchini, it's one of the things I miss the most here in Japan in the summer. Zucchini is a rarity here and small ones the size of my hand go for Y289 (about $3.10) apiece. Can you mail me some? <3

Emily said...

I think you should take BK's idea and stick them in any open car window or mailbox you see. It seemed to work for her!

Kristina said...

Madsilence-- a summer without zucchini? I can't even picture it.

Emily-- All my friends have wised up. They lock their cars. Mailboxes, too! :)

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog said...

Funny I read this post today because I just had a pizza with zucchini on it last night. I urge people to try it- it might sound a little strange, but it tastes so fresh and delicious!

Beth said...

wow, moosewood cookbooks are so full of surprises! i'll have to try this out.

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