A friend once asked me to pick her zucchini while she was away, to keep the plants producing. I forgot all about it until the day before she was due back. Uh-oh — anyone who’s grown squash knows how they go from cute to monster practically overnight. I dashed to her garden to cart off any huge ones so that she wouldn’t find out what an unreliable friend I am. There were eight, three of them at the OMG stage.
That old joke about having to lock your car in August so the neighbors won’t put zucchini in it has some truth where I live. Almost everyone has runaway squash in their garden, including me. But I hate waste, so dealing with what seems like several hundred pounds of zukes is a challenge I intend to meet. One monster went to a neighbor who makes wonderful zucchini bread. We’ve used a couple of not-too-big ones cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out, stuffed and baked; and I’ve sautéed another big one with onions, garlic, tomatoes and basil to freeze and use as pasta sauce in winter. There are still several reproaching me when I walk into the kitchen, but I’ll get to them.
Brush thick slices or wedges with oil, grill for a few minutes on each side, then sprinkle them with lemon zest and coarse salt.
2 medium zucchini
¼ cup milk
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut zucchini into three-inch sticks. Whisk together the egg and milk in one bowl, and mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in another.
Dip the zucchini sticks in the egg mix, coat with breadcrumbs, and bake on a cookie sheet in a single layer for about 25 minutes until golden.
Beware: the fries are highly addictive.
1½ pounds zucchini, coarsely grated
About 1 cup scallions or chives, chopped small
6 ounces feta cheese
½ cup chopped fresh mint
½ cup chopped parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup flour
Let the grated zucchini drain in a colander for an hour or two. Pat dry, and put it in a bowl. Crumble in the feta cheese, and add the scallions, herbs, and eggs. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Sift the flour on top and stir in.
Heat a large, lightly oiled skillet. Drop in spoonfuls of the batter, spreading it thin to make 3-inch pancakes. Cook a couple of minutes on each side, until golden.
Serve as an appetizer or side dish. If you want to dress them up, garnish the pancakes with yogurt or sour cream, or a lemony basil aioli.