Too Many Zucchini!
The test kitchen team offers stellar advice on using up summer squash.
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It's that time of year-you go away for a week, and the zucchini run rampant. You've probably heard those stories of people who leave summer squash on neighbors' porches because they are overwhelmed by the bounty. This year, for the first time, I had a similar problem. Barely able to stagger under the weight of the oversize summer squash in the garden-that's just some of them above-I knew I needed new ideas for using the giants. My usual ratatouille just wasn't going to cut it.
Our 42 Burners crew doesn't back down from a challenge, so I asked them to tackle my super-squash problem. I didn't ask for their favorite zucchini recipe to make with dainty heirloom squash from the farmers' market; rather, how would they use these arm-size, not-at-all-delicate homegrown squash.
Luckily for me, they had plenty of ideas. Riley, our resident recipe tester, suggested a batch of zucchini soup: "I like roasting it with coriander seeds, then pureeing with water and lemon juice. For the finishing touch, I thinly shave some zucchini and roast it until it's crispy for the soup topping." She had another clever idea: "Zoodles-they're great with something heftier, like sausage or meatballs." She really got inspired, and the ideas kept coming: "A zucchini ribbon salad is always a good idea, or zucchini pickles are a great way to use up a bumper crop." (Note to self: Give her a squash for pickles…)
Senior food editor Lauryn Tyrell has had a lot of experience with oversize zucchini. Her recommendation? Grating a squash; then letting it cook down for a long time with onions or garlic over medium heat, until all the water evaporates and it starts to caramelize. "I'll toss the sauce that results with pasta and finish with a little lemon juice and a lot of Parmesan. It's an Italian technique that you can also use with other vegetables, like broccoli," says Lauryn.
She also had sweet ideas: "I love baking with zucchini and chocolate like this Chocolate-Zucchini Bread and the Chocolate-Zucchini Cake recipe I recently developed. It's easy to put together, and the zucchini gives it a really nice texture. The beautiful Sugared Zucchini Blossoms aren't hard either-you just have to keep flipping them as you cook them."
Another fan of baking with zucchini is assistant food editor Lindsay Strand. Her go-to zucchini bread is her grandma's recipe, a classic loaf with cinnamon, vanilla, and sometimes chocolate chips or nuts for good measure. Our Zucchini Spice Bread adds nutmeg, ginger, and cloves to the cinnamon.