PART I: RAW
Admit it. You’re sick of them already. For the first week you’re ecstatic: the daily harvesting of the small and delicious squash, the blossoms stuffed and fried, the very picture of summer abundance, living proof that even you can grow a vegetable, and a flourishing one at that. And then you forget to look at your beloved plant for a couple of days and lo and behold, you have 4 zucchinis the size of baseball bats. We have three plants in our backyard, and we’ve stayed pretty on top of harvesting. Still, I find myself opening the fridge and sighing deeply with resignation. Another meal, another zucchini. It’s hard to stay excited and inspired by the same ingredient no matter how versatile it is. But I will try in these next three posts to get myself and you re-excited about good old, dependable, prolific, adaptable zucchini. There will be one recipe for each stage of the fruit: one for the baby size, one for the mid-sized and one for the sleeping giant zucchini, so that none of your harvest goes to waste.
My favorite way to eat zucchini is raw, harvested young, when they are tiny, no longer than a couple of inches and about the width of two of your fingers. Sliced very thinly they are crunchy, slightly nutty, and the perfect vehicle for lemon, good olive oil, and a mild cheese. The other day I prepared them in a carpaccio-like salad, alternating the paper thin slices with equally thin rounds of lemon cucumbers and armenian cucumbers. Add a little cheese and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand–basil, dill, mint, parsley, tarragon, or all of them–and you have yourself a delicious (and maybe home grown and harvested) lunch or side dish. Eat up, there is more on the way!!!