It's coming...

By Michelle S. RSS Wed, July 6, 2011

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!

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You yell summer squash, everybody says, "Huh? What?" You yell zucchini...and we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.
Carolyn - Philadelphia
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Simply roasted with other seasonal or non-seasonal vegetables... eggplant, bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, onions.... or stuffed zucchini boats!
Philly Grub - South Philly
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yum! I love roasting zucchini and other veg in foil packets on the grill instead of in my oven to avoid heating up my kitchen in the summer. I'll have to give stuffed zucchini boats a try! Michelle - Free Library of Philadelphia
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Linda, thanks for your , of course. But I'm a doctor and I've never heard of zucchini causing an issue of that sort. It could be poisoning if all the family suffered or other greens. Zucchinis are actually a great substitute for potato, they are less starchy, have more water and are great to give your kidneys some rest. In addition, you can keep them for months at a cool place and they will be fine (I do so). And of course, growing and harvesting is much easier and they are so nice and substantial to feel and to cradle:) This is our major ingredient for all summer meals.
Marie G. - Denver
Friday, January 6, 2012

As to the question about "innocent vegetable, or ruthless dinner dominator", my answer is I really love zucchini and they actually dominated my kitchen in a ruthless manner past summer (we grew a few dozens such behemoths!), until all the family got into very a delicate trouble...we all ended up studying this subject So be careful, especially about eating them raw . The same thing with broccoli. I love zucchini pancakes, the same basic recipe as with potato but zucchini instead. Just put a bit more flour if you want them a bit less watery. Hot pancakes with cold sour-cream are perfect.
Linda - CA
Friday, January 6, 2012