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Seriously Simple: Zucchini two ways

From the 5 cozy weather recipes to try this week series
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This is my standby side for simple roasted or grilled dishes.

Zucchini, yellow or green, are one of late summer’s gifts to us. There is always plenty available, and it can be used in myriad ways. These softer squashes can be sauteed and added to pastas, rice and egg dishes. I use shredded squash and add it to meatloaf or meatballs for added flavor and moisture. When using shredded squash to add moisture, don’t bother removing excess water. When sautéing it, it’s best to get rid of extra water.

Here are two of my favorite summer squash recipes:

A simple zucchini saute has the bite of slightly bitter arugula. You can jazz this up by adding some fresh shucked corn or julienned red or yellow sweet peppers for additional color and flavor or use spinach in lieu of the arugula. The lemon zest and juice bring all the savor together. It is my standby side for simple roasted or grilled dishes and can easily be multiplied. For this recipe when shredding the squash, make sure to wring out all the excess moisture in a dry dish towel. Then dry the squash carefully with a dry dish towel.

Zucchini bread, an American classic enhanced with brown butter, has a slight nutty flavor. The crusty sugar topping adds an additional surprise. There is no need to remove the excess water from the zucchini for this recipe; in fact, it helps to develop a moist bread. You only need 1 large mixing bowl to put it all together. It is extremely versatile since you can serve it for breakfast, tea, snacks or dessert.

Zucchini and Arugula Saute

Serves 4 to 6

  • 4 zucchini (about 1 pound), coarsely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium bunches arugula, thinly shredded
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the zucchini in a dry dish towel and wring out all the excess moisture. Dry the squash carefully with a dry dish towel.

2. In a medium saute pan melt the butter over medium heat.

3. Add the zucchini and stir for about 3 minutes, or until the squash is lightly browned. Add the arugula and continue stirring another minute or two. Add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Bread

Makes 1 (9-inch by 5-inch loaf)

  • Baking spray
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon sanding, raw or turbinado sugar

1. Coat a nonstick 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. Place the butter in a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Cook the butter until it turns brown and is slightly fragrant. Remove from heat and reserve.

3. In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, sugars and vanilla and whisk together until nicely blended. Add the cooled brown butter. Combine the zucchini and mix with a large spoon to evenly incorporate the ingredients.

4. Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices onto parchment or wax paper. Carefully sprinkle the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and mix to evenly blend.

5. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle over the tablespoon coarse sugar evenly on top of the batter.

6. Bake for about 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool completely in pan. (It may fall apart if it is too warm.) Slice and serve.

(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)

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