Last week, while watching the kids cruise bikes and scooters up and down the street, our neighbor casually mentioned the abundance of zucchini in his backyard. To drive the point home his daughter came screaming from the house that she had just “found another one” that was at least 10″ long. Whether she was excited or frightened at the prospect of “another” zucchini, let alone a really big one, was not readily apparent. She could have just as easily spoken of locusts in the same tone of voice.
With their house clearly about to be buried under an avalanche of zucchini, and the rest of the neighborhood gardens ramping up their output of the slender squash, we decided that the upcoming Sunday night Sidewalk Cafe would be zucchini-centric. A celebration of the often maligned but prolific little garden staple. As word went out about the “theme” for dinner a neighbor whose garden hadn’t kicked in yet knocked on our door looking for spare Zucchini. We knew just where to send her…
The offerings were quite varied and really tasty. There were zucchini fries, zucchini and green chili quiche, zucchini risotto, grilled zucchini, fried zucchini rounds (husband and wife dueling recipies no less!), and zucchini pizza. While our own zucchini harvest has not yet been so large that we have had to sandbag the house in defense of their arrival, we now have a few more ideas on just what to do when the crop comes in.
It will take us time to track down recipes for everything, but for starters try the zucchini pizza. It is cooked entirely on the grill – not a trivial note as we enter into our 3rd week with temperatures in the mid-90s.
What you’ll need:
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
1 lb pizza dough (we made honey whole wheat in the bread maker)
1 lb zucchini (about 2 large), cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 lb coarsely grated mozzarella (2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Preheat gas grill on high, covered, 10 minutes
Mash minced garlic into a paste using flat side of knife. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Form dough into a 12- by 10-inch rectangle on a floured cutting board and rub with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Cover dough with plastic wrap.
Toss zucchini with salt (1/4 teaspoon) and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. Grill zucchini on lightly oiled grill rack, covered, turning once, until just tender and showing grill marks, 4 to 5 minutes total. Return to bowl.
Grill dough, oiled side down, on lightly oiled grill rack, covered, until underside is golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Getting the dough onto the grill is definitely the tricky part. We simply “flipped” it, oil-side-down, from our cutting board.
Turn crust over using tongs and brush with garlic oil. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then arrange zucchini, overlapping slightly, in 1 layer on cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and grill pizza, covered, until underside is golden brown and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.
Recipe credit: Epicurious