ZUCCHINI, A FLAVOR CHAMELEON
Though it has been under cultivation for somewhere between 7500 and 9,000 years, until roughly 50 years ago the zucchini was almost unknown on U.S. tables. A native of the Americas, the Spanish brought it to Europe, where the Italians developed the variety we are most familiar with today. Like many other botanical classifications, zucchini was mis-catalogued as, and treated as, a vegetable though it is actually a fruit, a berry to be precise. It is sometimes called a “tender” squash because the skin is thin and edible.
Zucchini is as easy going as it is easy to grow. It is a chameleon able to meld with innumerable other, diverse flavors. This summer squash is an affable member of any team, the sort who plays well and works well with many different textures. It can stand up to spice or relax with cream. It is attracted to other vegetables, a good foil for meats and is happily married to grains and pastas of unlimited shapes. Better yet, zucchini is equally happy to be the pasta itself.
If all that isn’t enough, zucchini can be eaten raw when it makes a terrific scoop for dips or as an added crunch to salads. Likewise it is open to being sautéed, blanched, roasted, stuffed, tempura-ed, layered, grilled, sandwiched or frittered. There are probably more recipes for zucchini than any other single vegetable (fruit), including zucchini bread, zucchini pickles and zucchini pudding. It’s getting hard to imagine the zucchini getting into any kind of conflict. Maybe we should send it to the United Nations on our behalf.
The longest zucchini on record was grown by Giovanni Batista Scozzafava in 2014 and measured 8 foot 3 inches long. However, the best ones for eating are harvested young, tender and small to medium in size. There are many recipes on the website that we have previously published such as: Zucchini Fontina Lasagna, Grilled Zucchini, Zucchini Linguine with Creamy Lemon Basil Sauce, Chicken with Asparagus, Zucchini and Basmati Rice and Summer Squash & Onion Gratin. Today’s new recipe is called Zucchini Lasagna with Sausage. It is easy to make and to freeze so that multiple dinners can be had for the effort of one.
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