CHEF ILONA DANIEL: Flip the common-or-garden zucchini into an expensive tacky casserole
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With out query, it is among the most prolific summer season crops right here in Atlantic Canada.
Do you ever discover that your pals are by no means giving freely their cauliflower, berries or lemons? It’s nearly at all times zucchini in the summertime and rhubarb within the spring!
Zucchini is a summer season squash, which suggests it’s harvested whereas its rind remains to be tender and edible. Its pores and skin ranges from darkish inexperienced, gentle inexperienced orange or deep yellow. Botanically, zucchini is a fruit, however it’s usually handled extra usually as a vegetable.
Ancestors of the zucchini varietals come from the Americas. They had been native to the area roughly the place Mexico and the northern elements of South America are located. When the European colonization of the Americas began, zucchini and different summer season squash seeds had been delivered to Europe the place their cultivation started.
Zucchini crops started their European improvement in Italy within the nineteenth century close to Milan. The title zucchini comes from a plural diminutive phrase for an Italian phrase for squash: zucca.
One other in style title for the versatile plant is courgette and comes from the French phrase for this vegetable.
The recipe for this creamy casserole is fantastic approach to serve up this humble vegetable in a most luxuriant type. Zucchini does include a excessive share of moisture and, to ensure a profitable consequence, it’s crucial the salt soak step is just not skipped.
If you happen to occur to have some further inexperienced or yellow beans, this can be a nice medium for them to be ready. Moreover, freshly shucked corn makes for a pleasant choice as nicely.
Tacky Zucchini Casserole (Serves 6)
- 4 lbs zucchini, small cube, salted with 2 tsp salt and extra water gently squeezed out
- 1 bundle cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups hen inventory
- 1 ½ cups whipping cream
- 1 tsp nutmeg, floor
- salt and floor black pepper to style
- 1 bunch inexperienced onions, chopped or ½ cup snipped chives
- ½ cup contemporary basil or tarragon, torn or chiffonade
- 1 cup grated cheese of your selection
- 1 cup cracker crumbs or panko
- 4 Tbsp butter melted
- In a colander, sprinkle the zucchini with salt and permit to face for quarter-hour to attract out extra moisture. After quarter-hour have elapsed, gently squeeze out any extra moisture and put right into a casserole dish.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a skillet, soften the cream cheese into the hen inventory over medium warmth. As soon as the cream cheese has melted, add within the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce till it resembles a cheese sauce texture.
- Subsequent, stir within the herbs and inexperienced onion. Pour this combination over the zucchini and gently stir to mix.
- Sprinkle the cheese excessive of the casserole. Mix the cracker crumbs with the butter and sprinkle over the casserole.
Place into pre-heated oven and cook dinner till the casserole is golden and bubbly — about 35 minutes.
Chef Ilona Daniel welcomes feedback from readers by e-mail at (e-mail protected) or on Twitter: @chef_ilona