Dun-dun. Dun-dun. (That's my poor attempt at the Jaws theme song, if you can't tell). It's coming. Tucked under those wide, floppy leaves, hiding under the thick, prickly plant stems, masking itself like a chameleon under a canopy of garden green... until one day, you spy it. It could win awards at county fairs; it could knock a man silly if wielded improperly. The monster zucchini. Sure, maybe you noticed a small hint of a vegetable amid the yellow blossoms when you were watering your plants the other day. But before you could say ratatouille, it grew into the behemoth you now cradle in your arms like a 10 lb. infant, wondering just how in the world you're going to use it all up--not to mention the seemingly hundreds of other monster zucchinis now taking over your garden (and your dinner table) for the next couple of months.
I love zucchini. I really do. Each year, I always grow a zucchini plant or two in my garden--and each year, I always forget about the sheer size of the onslaught. I tell myself I will catch these suckers when they're still small and tender and manageable--and as usual, I fail miserably in my efforts. For me, it started this weekend. In the past few days, I've harvested one lovely, normal-sized zucchini, and three baseball bats. And as much as one can lament having an overabundance of food in a world where so many are hungry (which is to say, not at all), I always find myself struggling to use it all up. I make zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, ratatouille, and more, but it never seems to go away. Below are some of my favorite cookbooks for quality zucchini recipes.
The Classic Zucchini Cookbook - If 225 zucchini-centric recipes can't help, I don't know what can.
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian - Mark Bittman offers some great squash-based recipes with a global flavor.
Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life - I swoon just as much over the gorgeous photography in Jamie Oliver's cookbook as I do the excellent recipes. Grilled zucchini as a pizza topping! Delicious!
Fast Food My Way - Jacques Pépin has the best recipe for zucchini and tomato salad. Summer in a bowl!
Molto Italiano - Mario Batali's stuffed zucchini flowers are indulgent and delicious (and a great excuse to cull potential zucchini monsters before they begin to grow).
Are you in the same predicament? What are your favorite zucchini-based dishes? Do you want to take some zucchini off my hands? (I'm just kidding. Well, mostly.) Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!