Mid-September always meant the last of the zucchini when we had a garden, sad because our plants always provided so much and because zucchini was a favorite summer vegetable. Thankfully zucchini is now available year round in supermarkets, and here on Kaua’i we’re fortunate to find it almost all year at the farmer’s market, both the green and yellow varieties. I pick some up more weeks than not as Brett and I love it, especially roasted or grilled.
This long-time favorite recipe comes from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book and uses quite a bit of zucchini so it’s a great recipe if you’re being overrun, and it’s delicious both hot and cold. A frittata is nothing more than an Italian egg-based dish similar to an omelet or quiche, and it can be either simple or enriched with additional ingredients including meats, vegetables, herbs. It’s easy to make, and can either be baked or started in a skillet and finished in the oven. Along with some good bread and a salad, a frittata makes an easy and low-cost meal.
Getting as much liquid squeezed out of the zucchini is crucial to getting this frittata to set set up properly. Our method for squeezing out the liquid it to put the grated zucchini in a clean cotton dishtowel, roll the towel up lengthwise, and then twist the ends in opposite directions (over the sink, or outside if that’s not possible). One of the girls usually helped me with this task when they were at home, but these days Brett helps me, and between the two of us we’re able to get a tremendous amount of liquid squeezed out using this method.
By the way, what I remember most about growing zucchini was that in spite of checking our plants every day and harvesting what was ready, I could often go out the next morning and discover a squash the size of a baseball bat! Did it grow that big overnight, or was it just well hidden and I missed it ??? It was one of the mysteries of the garden that I never could figure out.
8 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 3 pounds)
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp butter
2 TBSP finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 TBSP milk
1/2 tsp crumbled oregano
1/2 tsp crumbled dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
dash of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Squeeze as much liquid out of the shredded zucchini as possible – try to get it as “dry” as possible. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet (preferably non-stick) and sauté the onion and garlic for around 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the zucchini is just tender. If any liquid still collects in the pan, pour it off.
In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, hot sauce or cayenne and 2 TBSP of the Parmesan cheese. Add to the zucchini mixture and pour into a well-greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Top the mixture with the rest of the Parmesan cheese and bake in a 350° oven for approximately 35 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the cheese has browned on top
If you are using an ovenproof skillet, you can add the egg mixture to the zucchini in the skillet and cook everything together, stirring often, until the eggs begin to set. Sprinkle the frittata with the remaining Parmesan cheese and place the pan under the broiler or in a 500 degree oven and cook just until the top is lightly browned. (This only takes a very few minutes, so watch carefully).
Let the frittata stand for a few minutes before slicing. The frittata can easily provide six servings. It can also be garnished with tomato slices or a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or with sliced olives, if desired.