Okay, I am going a little out of order here. I planned to take you on a zucchini filled journey, sequentially from the babiest to the biggest. But last week, in the heat wave, I missed my window for mid-sized harvesting and was left with the big guys, the baseball bats, the sleeping giants.
There isn’t anything wrong with a giant zucchini. They are still nutritious and if anything the flavor gets even milder. The challenge with the bigger fruit is coming up with a way to deal with the change in texture. As the zucchini grows the flesh becomes pithy (not concise so much as abundant-in-pith). It acts as a sponge if you throw it in a sautee pan making the resulting meal too soggy and it is too dry and chewy to enjoy raw. The solution? Shred and bake. I love traditional zucchini bread, in the same sweet breakfast style as a banana bread. But in the name of exploration and experimentation I chose a zucchini corn bread this time around. It flirts with both the sweet and the savory and has enough heft from the cornmeal to stand up to soup dunking or as a side for a lobster bake.
|I cut into the zucchini and discard the seeds before shredding the flesh.|
You can grate the zucchini with a cheese grater, or, to make faster work of it, use the grating blade of a food processor.
To make my bread I used a combination of fresh grated and frozen grated zucchini. If you use frozen grated you will need to squeeze a lot of water out of the vegetable before adding it to any baked good.
|First, I use my hand to press the zucchini against the side of the sieve, removing the easily expelled water.|
|For round two of water removal I place the mushy mound of zucchini in the center of a clean, strong dish towel, fold the corners up, and twist and squeeze until all the water has drained through the cloth.|
If you use all fresh grated zucchini you won’t need to squeeze any water out. We ate our bread with Vermont Creamery cultured butter. I all but insist you do the same.