Zucchini, oh that mega producer

If you garden in the Maritime Pacific Northwest, you probably plant Zucchini every year. And every year you just might be tempted to try different varieties and every year you may end up with more than one zucchini plant and every year you might forget just how much zucchini one plant will produce and you may forget that the big leaves can hide those zucchini from you until you finally notice the bulging beast lurking on top of the soil.

Or, maybe that’s just me.

Whatever the case, someone you know must be growing the stuff and has too much to handle. Something has to be done with them. And aside from drying, freezing, baking them into cinnamon scented butter soft bread, or moist chocolate brownie heaven, or diced into bite size pieces and bathed in olive oil then slow roasted with garlic, herbs, tomatoes, a Chile pepper, onions and flake salt so that the luscious aroma infuses the house and wafts out the windows and open doors into the garden bed you’re tending, there must be other things one can do!

My grandmother worked magic with zucchini. Whether sautéing slices with a little hamburger or maybe a little egg, her creations were always perfectly executed; no mush and sooo much flavor.

On my birthday, in honor of my grandmamas creative zucchini efforts. I stuffed a big one with sausage and such and plopped it on the grill to cook. It was delicious and I think you need to try using zucchini as a vessel for stuffing in this way too. So I’ll share my idea, or recipe as some people call it, with you.

Zucchini As A Vessel: Sausage Boat

Slice a large Zucchini in half lengthwise. With a melon baller scoop out the soft seedy flesh.

Place these Zucchini “Boats” side by side on a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil or on a cookie sheet you don’t mind getting funky from the grill experience (this can totally be done in the oven, on a baking sheet, uncovered.)

Drizzle the boats with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle the boats with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Start heating up a skillet on medium high.

Dice up an onion, or a few shallots or whatever you got.

Smoosh a few garlic cloves and remove the peel

Drizzle your hot pan with a little olive oil

Toss in the onion and garlic; push around the pan for a bit, until they start to give a little, you know become tender and translucent

Crumble a pound of Italian pork sausage into the pan along with your pungent allium duo.

Cook until the sausage is crumbly and brown (sometimes I use a potato masher to smash the sausage into submission otherwise I end up with huge chunks of sausage)

Turn off heat

Grind or shake a 1/2 teaspoon or so of nutmeg onto the sausage mixture. Mix in, then taste for seasoning (some sausage is sooo salty!) if needed, add a little more pepper and salt

Now add 1/2-1cup fine bread crumbs

Add 1-2 cups torn mozzarella

Stir everything together.

Mound into the zucchini boats. If you have extra sausage mixture, great! Freeze for next time or toss with a hot pasta or add to tomato sauce or roll with eggplant or……

Grate Parmesan over the top until you feel satisfied. I like to use the large shred size of my grater and I like to be able to see the sausage mixture through the cheese, so I don’t coat the whole boat 😉.

Now, place on a hot grill (temp 450-500 Fahrenheit) and let cook until the boats seem just fork tender and the cheese is melted. If the bottom chars just a little that’s ok, it adds flavor! Every zucchini is going to need a different cooking time due to moisture levels, thickness etc.

Remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Carefully remove the boats from the pan or foil, it may fall apart but if your lucky, it will stay together and you can serve it in big slices. Yum!

(Pssst. Put all of your peels in a container in the freezer so you can use them for veggie broth. Do the same for the inside of the zucchini)

2 Comments

  1. Hi Donata,

    I tried to comment on your blog but it would not let me add my required info (name). FYI. I do have a favor though _ i am preparing a dinner for 10 this Saturday, it’s a fundraiser dinner that we agreed to host the main course. We are preparing Christina’s Chicken – Boneless with skin chicken breast, stuffed with Feta Cheese & Artichoke hearts mixture under neath the skin, then roasted in the oven. I am looking for a side idea to go with that. It’s a progressive dinner so they will have already had appetizers and salad – I just need the main course (chicken) and something to go with it. I saw your Zucchini boats and thought that sounded good and your salad sounds delish but they are already having salad. Thoughts?! I would normally do a cous cous with bright veges in it (carrots, corn, etc). Please let me know your thoughts and feel free to post this question on your blog!

    Jeanne Petershagen jpetershagen@hotmail.com | 425.210.7262

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    1. Hi Jeanne! I think you’re spot on with idea of a starchy side. I would lean toward rice and I would keep it simple to go with the strong flavors of your chicken dish. My mom used to make a baked white rice with parsley. I think this dish would be spectacular next to your chicken. I can smell them together right now! Mom used uncle bens long grain rice which left the dish with a light fluffy texture; I think they rinse the rice several times before packaging so the sticky rice starch is absent. I found a recipe on Epicurious that sounds a lot like my moms. Can’t wait to hear what you decided on. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rice-with-parsley-102876/amp

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