Having a vegetable garden is a wonderful thing. However, when a plant is in its prime it can give you way more than you need. My friend, Robyn, grows these giant Costata Romanesca Zucchini from seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library (http://www.seedlibrary.org/). This plant produces some huge zucchini—some that were at least two and a half feet long! That’s a lot of zucchini.
After grilling, roasting, sauteing and adding it to scrambled eggs, I thought she might need a couple more recipes. This zucchini is delicious, but anyone can get tired of it in this quantity.
I thought a good zucchini bread would do the trick. It’s moist, delicious and actually doesn’t taste too much like zucchini—a good thing in this case. This recipe makes two good-sized loafs.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325-degrees
Since this zucchini is so large, I decided the scoop out the seeds which were the size of pumpkin seeds. They’re edible, but it’s not the crunch I wanted in my bread. If using a smaller variety, you can skip this step.
Using a box grater or food processor, grate enough zucchini so you have about two cups.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well.
Stir in the shredded zucchini and walnuts. Grease and flour 2 bread pans.
I have to confess, one of my bread pans has gone missing, so I dumped the whole mixture into one. This worked fine, but it almost doubled the baking time (and one of the bottom edges was burnt a little). If you’re using two pans, the baking time should be about 45-60 minutes. If you use one, it can be up to two hours. Use a skewer to test doneness. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.
Let the bread cool in the pan, and then remove it and let cool on a rack before bagging. This bread is so good my husband and I ate it for a week and never tired of it.
Since the zucchini was the size of eggplants, I figured it might be a good experiment to adapt an eggplant parmesan recipe into zucchini parmesan. I’m sure this recipe could be made healthier by breading and baking the zucchini, but I was experimenting and didn’t want to stray too much from the traditional fried version.
2 lbs zucchini
1 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil + more for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs
4 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 350-degrees
Make the tomato sauce by blending the tomatoes, garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil and pepper. Set aside.
Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch rounds. Like the zucchini bread, I would scoop out the large, pumpkin-sized seeds, but the top part of the zucchini didn’t have any seeds, so I was able to slice it into beautiful rounds.
Bread the zucchini by dipping it into beaten eggs and then into the panko (or breadcrumb) and flour mixture.
Fry the breaded zucchini in olive oil until golden brown, flipping once.
Let drain on a paper towel.
Coat a large baking dish with olive oil and put about a cup of the tomato sauce into the bottom. Add one layer of zucchini on top.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the zucchini, and then layer mozzarella cheese and basil on top.
Add another layer of friend zucchini, and another layer of tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and parmesan.
Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Wait 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Using zucchini makes this dish a little watery, but it’s really delicious, and makes great leftovers.