CSA Veggie of the Week: Zucchini

Photo: Zsuzsanna Kilian

With most of us about to embark on a long weekend, grilling is surely on the brain. Labor Day BBQs filled with good company, (hopefully) beautiful weather, and of course, good food. This week, I chose zucchini to star in my CSA post, and one great way to prepare this summer squash is to cut it in large pieces, toss it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, then grill it until the outside is charred and the inside is warm.

Fortunately, zucchini hasn’t overwhelmed our CSA share this year—a good thing considering in the past, we’ve faced baseball bat–sized vegetables, one of which offers enough flesh for a sweet baked good, a savory side and maybe another dish or two. Not only that, but I recently learned from Cooks Illustrated that smaller zucchinis tend to offer more flavor, particularly those that weigh less than 8 ounces. We’ve surely experienced this in my house. The petite ones cut into coin-sized disks and then sautéed go extraordinarily well with many a meal.

If you’re feeling adventurous this weekend, here’s a tasty looking treat from Aarti Sequeira, host of The Food Network’s Aarti Party. My post last week about eggplant included her recipe for Eggplant Rolls with Ricotta, Walnuts, and Mint. When I tweeted to ask her recommendations for zucchini, she came back instantly with this cold zucchini side. I haven’t yet tried it, but I know a few green squash in my fridge destined for ribbon-salad greatness.

Here are also a couple of baking options. Instead of your typical zucchini bread, try this Zucchini Cornbread from Bon Appétit. It got rave reviews from most who made it—though a majority agreed it was necessary to cut back the sugar. The name of this recipe—Chocolate and Zucchini Cake—drew me in, but when I got into it more, I found it’s basically just hyped-up chocolate cake with shredded zuke. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

For brevity’s sake, I’ll skip more small talk and get to the recipes. I’ve included the few from above, plus a couple others. Happy Labor Day! 

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lime Juice, Red Chile and Peanuts, Aarti Sequeira/Aarti Party
Fried Zucchini, Giada De Laurentiis
Stuffed Zucchini with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, Martha Stewart
Herbed Squash Salad with Yogurt Dressing, Martha Stewart
Zucchini Cornbread, Bon Appétit
Chocolate and Zucchini Cake, Epicurious

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