Monday, July 2, 2012

Zucchini Isn't Just a Joke

Botanically a fruit

Jokes about zucchini abound:
  •  Don't leave your car unlocked in the summer, because someone might fill your back seat with zucchini.
  • Any number of zucchini plants above one is too many.
  • How can you tell if a person has no friends? The person has to buy zucchini. 
And those are just the clean ones! But zucchini  is only a joke among people who grow it. Those of us who eat it know that this food is tremendously versatile. When picked young, they can be cooked any number of ways: steamed, baked, grilled, sliced raw in salads, sauteed with a little oil and garlic. Larger sizes can be stuffed and baked.

Even the overgrown giants with the thick skin can be used. The trick is to grate them on the large holes of a grater, sprinkle them with salt, and let them stand in a colander for ten minutes. Then throw them into a clean dish towel and twist it tightly to drain off the liquid. The resulting shreds are a gorgeous shade of green and can be sauteed quickly either with butter and onion or with oil and garlic. It cooks into a fluffy green pile that can be served either as a stand-alone vegetable or as a base for a pasta sauce.

As an added bonus, zucchini are good for you. Not only are they high in fiber, but also in Vitamins A, C, B6, Thiamin, Niacin, and various minerals.  And they are low in calories.

So snigger if you must but take advantage of summer's fresh zucchini while you can.

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