Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Recipe Blogging: Two Zucchini Recipes

It's been a very, very long time since I've posted up any recipes here -- perhaps even before I started working on the book.  I'm finally back to enjoying cooking after the long haul of the book and starting a couple new jobs, so I'm in the mood to plop up a few recipes from time to time.  Fear not, I’ll keep the majority of the posts here technical.

The following two recipes are centered around some of the great bounty we get from the Communtiy Supported Agriculture program we subscribe to.  Local farmers sell fresh produce directly to consumers, which means we can get some great fruits and vegetables from farmers in the region.  It works out quite nicely, and we've been really pleased with the selection we've been getting.

Without further ado, two recipes for making tasty zucchini.

Zucchini and Kohlrabi with Parmesan and Sage

This recipe's all about simplicity, so make sure to focus on the freshness of the ingredients.  Also, look up some real Italian parmesan and avoid the faux-Parmesan stuff made in Wisconsin.  If you're using that stuff in a green can then do yourself a favor and go find some real Parmesan.  You'll throw out that green can in a hurry.  Good quality sea salt also helps bring out the best in the dish.

* 2 - 4 cups extra virgin olive oil
* 1 medium-sized zucchini
* 1 medium kohlrabi
* 6 - 8 large sage leaves
Parmesan cheese
sea salt

Place a heavy, tall sauce pan or frier over a burner.  Fill it to a depth of two or three inches with olive oil.  To avoid the oil bubbling over when frying, the pan/pot shouldn't be any fuller than 1/3 of its height.  Turn the burner on medium high.  Continue with preparation while the oil's heating up.

Slice the zuke into quarters lengthwise -- think pickle spears.  Cut the spears into 1/4" wedges.  Shoot for consistency in thickness to help the pieces cook evenly.

Peel the kohlrabi and slice in half vertically.  Tip each half on the flat side, then slice into 1/4" thick pieces.  Cut those pieces into 1/4" wide spears, then cut those spears into 1/4" pieces, leaving you a metric passle of 1/4" cubes.

Check the temperature of the oil if you've a deep frying or candy thermometer.  350F - 390F is about right.  If you don't have a thermometer then carefully drop in a piece of zuke or kohlrabi.  THe oil should bubble around quite nicely.

Deep fry the zucchini in small batches, carefully lowering the pieces into the oil with a slotted spoon or frying spider.  Stir them around a bit and cook for three to five minutes until the pieces are, as the TV chefs would say, "GBD", or "Golden, Brown, and Delicious."  Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels and season each batch lightly with sea salt.  Add a layer of paper towels after a few batches to help drain off excess oil.

Fry the kohlrabi pieces in the same fashion, transferring to paper towels and seasoning each batch.

Finally, carefully plop the sage leaves in the oil and fry them for a moment or two until they're crisp.  They'll lose a bit of their color and will slightly shrivel up.

For final assembly, pull out a pretty bowl and carefully pour in the fried kohlrabi and zucchini pieces.  Dust with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, then place the sage leaves over the top.


Zucchini with Honey

As with the previous recipe, this is all about simplicity and the quality of the ingredients.  Get some good-quality honey from a local producer or the gourmet section of a store.  Zingermans has a fantastic selection of honey from around the world if you're looking for something exotic.

* 1 large or 2 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced into 1/4" wedges
* 2 tsp. wild honey

Heat a bit of olive oil in a sautee pan over medium-high heat.  Toss in the zuke wedges and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Sautee for 2 - 3 minutes until they start to caramelize just a bit.  Swirl in the honey and continue to cook for another minute or two.  By this time, depending on the heat of your pan, the zuke should be slightly browned, just tender in texture, and nicely coated with the honey. 

Pour into a serving bowl.  Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon or two of water and pour those drippings over the zuke in the bowl.  Serve immediately.


Anonymous said...

Oh sure, NOW you post zucchini recipes when I'm PRETTY sure that we didn't plant any zucchini this year.

Do you know that Hamburg, MI is the Kohlrabi capital of the world?


Jim Holmes said...

Kohlrabi capital of the world? Man, Wikipedia just amazes me with the amount of minutae it covers. (I was going to say trivial, useless crap, but that might be offensive.)

So hit a good farmers' market if you didn't plant zukes! We've passed on most everything outside tomatoes, peas/beans, and peppers since our local farmers' markets have such great stock.

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