For a peek at what was in all the boxes this week tiptoe over here.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but it is getting trickier and trickier to sell the zucchini to my affected teens and so, once again, I will attempt to put some spin on this humble squash. My son used to hide them in his pockets, now he just rolls his eyes at the sight of them in the box, mutters expletives and tries to slip them into the swap box when I’m not looking. This week I thought I’d have a hunt around for some slightly different ways to encourage the family to eat them. I turned to dear old Nigel Slater and his delightful book “Tender | Volume 1” where even he acknowledges that they are, at best, bland – presumably because they are 90% water. However, he points out that the very small, tender young zucchinis need little more than some good olive oil, lemon and salt to shine and that the larger ones can be transformed by the judicious addition of other ingredients on, in or around them.
Zucchini should always be baked, grilled or fried – no good will come of boiling them and it will only serve to alienate your family. I like to slice them quite thinly with a vegetable peeler, salt them and leave them in a colander for 15 minutes or so to drain, dry them and then char grill them on the bbq. I usually add them to a salad in this manner, but if you were to serve them as a side then a toss in some very good extra virgin olive oil (South Australian, of course), with a good squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper, some torn fresh herbs and some creamy feta will lift them up a notch – or three.
Nigel advocates stuffing them and then baking for maximum enjoyment and this is how they are often served in Middle Eastern cuisine. This can be as simple or as complex as you like, but I think any combination from the following list of ingredients will put quite a zing into your zucchini.
Onions or spring onions
Lemon – either the zest or chopped, preserved lemon
Ras el hanout
Sultanas or currants
Tomato – either chopped fresh, chopped dried or semi-dried
Bacon – chopped & crisp fried
Chorizo – chopped and fried
There – that should give you some inspiration to tart up a boring vegetable!