by Maryellen Driscoll
from Fine Cooking #106, p. 62-67
At our farm in upstate New York, zucchini is one crop no one is eager to harvest. Picking the “just rights” (not too big and not too small) from the low-to-the-ground, bushy plants means a lot of bending—down, up, down, up—while lugging an increasingly heavy tote along 300-foot rows. So there’s your backache. With that, you’re apt to get a rash from wrist to elbow from brushing against the prickly stems. Then there are the busy, buzzy, squash-blossom-loving bees; they aren’t the easiest coworkers to get along with.
And yet, at the end of the day, when I’ve no idea what to make for dinner, zucchini is most often what I reach for. Enthusiastically. That’s because it pairs naturally with practically everything else that grows in the garden in summer and early fall. It has a texture and a nutty essence that I love (as well as delicous, subtly flavored blossoms). And it’s just so easy to prep and cook on the stove, in the oven, or on the grill. Of course, if you make the salad, you don’t have to cook it at all.
|Two-Color Zucchini Ribbons with Mint and Olive Vinaigrette||Grilled Zucchini with Chive Oil|
|Sautéed Zucchini with Za'atar and Crispy Chickpeas||Fried Squash Blossoms|
|Linguine with Squash Blossoms and Lemon Cream Sauce||Chocolate-Nut Zucchini Bread|
Photos: Scott Phillips