One of our favorite things to eat in summer is zucchini, especially grilled, sautéed, and in pasta! Zucchini is a member of the Cucurbita pepo family, which includes several varieties, shapes, and colors of summer squash.
Where Did It Come From?
In spite of its Italian name and popularity in the Mediterranean diet, zucchini, like all squash, is actually a New World food. The American standard has become the Black Beauty variety, with its characteristic deep green. It can be slightly sweet or spicy, takes well to salt, and is sturdy enough to hold up in on-the-fly treats like vegetable pancakes or fritters! And if you’re a farmer’s market person, you might be lucky enough to find zucchini blossoms, which can be stuffed, fried, and eaten too!
It’s Healthy, Too!
Zucchini has very few calories and lots of vitamins, but the best thing about zucchini is that it goes with almost anything. Try it in a mixed grill, quick bread, with eggs, hard cheeses, salad, soup, fish, or risotto. At its freshest, zucchini is also a knockout side of its own, simply sliced in rounds and prepared with balsamic and mint, or garlic and olive oil.
How to Select
When shopping for zucchini, look for small-to-medium cylinders without blemishes on the skin. When zucchini becomes too fibrous, it may taste bland and feel spongy, so avoid selected zucchini that looks swollen. Zucchini will last up to a couple weeks in the fridge.
Try It Out!
Here are some winning recipes from our test kitchen:
Zucchini and Red Onion Sauté – In about 10 minutes, you’ll have a delicious, colorful side to serve 6-8! A great item to bring to a summer potluck or serve with steak!
Paper-wrapped Anniversary Salmon – These impressive fish pouches feature julienned vegetables with white wine, herbed butter, and leeks- yum!
Vegetarian Pizza – This incredible (and incredibly American) pizza really puts the Italian formula to the test… It’s loaded with vegetables, sour cream, and ranch dressing!