What to Do With Four Pounds of Zucchini?
Newport resident and Patch columnist Jessica Walsh profiles what's in season in our area.
This Week's Market Share…
To say zucchini is abundant right now is an understatement. Newport folks who have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with Simmons Farm know what I am talking about. Picking up last week's share, I was astonished to see that our couple share included four pounds of zucchini and other summer squash. For anyone who hasn't weighed this firm, green vegetable lately, four pounds is equivalent to five or six large zucchini. I scrambled to use our week's allotment, making a double batch of the zucchini pancakes popular in our house, only to find that this week's share included four more pounds of the green stuff!
I find this abundance a bit overwhelming, but Karla Simmons, of Simmons Farm, is far from intimidated. "I just love all summer squash," she gushes, "I'll eat it just about any way—boiled, grilled, sautéed. This week we have been sautéing it with cherry tomatoes and it's great."
Simmons is also offering a fair share of zucchini weekly at the Aquidneck Grower's Market, both in Newport and Middletown.
Let's Get Cooking…
Abundant as it is, zucchini is even difficult to give away, which leaves us with the creative challenge to use it without getting utterly bored. Here are some favorite recipes from our home:
- Pancakes: This recipe noted below was shared with us by Simmons in a weekly newsletter for CSA members. The pancakes were an immediate hit, and can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack. I also love their versatility—you can eat them right out of the pan, but they are just as good at room temperature, which makes them a great snack for summer parties. We try to maximize the nutritional value by choosing a healthy oil, using whole-wheat flour and substituting low-fat sour cream for serving.
- Traditional Fried Zucchini: This is how my Italian side serves zucchini, and while it may not be the healthiest choice, it is certainly delicious! Simply dredge sliced zucchini through flour, then egg and finally Italian bread crumbs before frying in canola or olive oil. Brown both sides, and then set on paper towels to cool (this absorbs access oil.) I think they are tasty just as they are. As my mom says, "What isn't tasty when it is breaded and fried?" You can also serve it with your favorite marinara dipping sauce.
- Bread: Perhaps my favorite thing about zucchini is that when all else fails you can bake it into a scrumptious sweet bread! Recipes for zucchini bread abound in family recipe boxes, cookbooks and on the Internet. Try making your family recipe a bit healthier by adding a ½ cup of ground flax seed and substituting up to half of the white flour with whole wheat.
Recipe Share: Karla's Zucchini Pancakes
- 1 ½ lbs zucchini
- ¾ tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¾ c. flour
- ½ c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ c. onion, minced
- ½ tsp. pepper
- Canola or Olive oil for frying
- Sour Cream to top
Coarsely shred the zucchini and toss with salt. Drain for 15-20 minutes, pressing out all access liquid—this step is very important. Beat eggs. Add garlic, flour, cheese, onion, and pepper. Gently fold in zucchini just until combined. Put just enough oil in a frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Place ¼ cup batter in pan for each pancake. Fry on both sides until browned (2-3 minutes). Serve with sour cream.
Recipe: Courtesy Simmons Farm
Looking for an Aquidneck Island farmers market near you? Click here.
Interested in a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture programs enable people to share in the harvest of a local farm. CSA members pay in advance for their share, and then pick up freshly harvested vegetables each week. A CSA helps provide that farmer with the necessary capital to start the growing season, and guarantees members fresh produce throughout the yield. Currently, Simmons Farm is the only farm on Aquidneck Island offering a CSA program. They offer both a summer and winter share program, and members can opt to add meat, eggs, and/or fresh goat cheese to their weekly share. For more information, visit www.simmonsorganicfarmri.com.