When Life Gives you Zucchini

Oh zucchini … how you do go on (and on and on). Our favorite summer squash is taking over our gardens, and we can’t eat another bite of zucchini bread. If you’re in the same boat with too much of a good thing, check out these easy, unexpected ways to use up your zuccs.

Chicken Zucchini Meatballs with Romesco Sauce

5 servings (about 25 meatballs)

It’s too hot for heavy food. Skip the beef and serve these chicken-based meatballs with a flavorful roasted red pepper sauce instead of the usual marinara.

1 medium zucchini (about ½ lb.)
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup panko
1 egg
2 Tbsp. finely chopped basil
3 tsp. minced garlic, divided
1 tsp. ground oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground dark meat chicken
1 cup raw almonds
1 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
• Trim the stem and root from the zucchini and discard. Using a food processor or box grater, grate the zucchini and roll it in a clean kitchen towel, pressing out as much moisture as possible, then set aside.
• In a small bowl, pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and set aside.
• In a large bowl, whisk the egg, basil, 2 teaspoons garlic, the oregano, onion powder, salt and pepper until blended. Add the zucchini, ground chicken and breadcrumb-milk mixture. Using your hands, gently but thoroughly combine, then shape the mixture into 1½-inch meatballs and place on the baking sheet.
• Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is lightly browned and the inside temperature reaches 165 degrees.
• While the meatballs cook, prepare the romesco sauce. In a dry skillet, toast the almonds over medium-high heat, shaking the pan frequently. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned and smell toasted.
• In a food processor, pulse the toasted almonds until finely chopped. Add the roasted peppers, the remaining 1 teaspoon minced garlic and the lemon juice and pulse until puréed. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil until the purée thickens.
• Serve the meatballs hot with the romesco sauce for dipping.

Zucchini Carpaccio

4 to 6 servings

Replace your usual salad course with this tangy appetizer, or double the recipe and serve with crusty bread for a simple, elegant lunch.

4 medium zucchini (about 1¹∕³ lbs.)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. truffle oil

• Trim the stem and root from the zucchini and discard. Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, shave the zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Discard the slices that are only dark peel and any that are heavily seeded. Place the remaining slices in a gallon-sized zip-close bag.
• In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, mint, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the mixture to the bag, seal and shake to evenly distribute the marinade. Marinate at room temperature 15 minutes.
• Arrange the zucchini on a serving plate and pour the marinade over the top. Garnish with the shaved Parmesan and finish with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Zucchini Parmesan Soufflé

4 servings

Who knew elegant brunch soufflés were so easy to make? Wow your guests with this seasonal take on a fool-proof favorite.

2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan, divided
1 medium zucchini (about ½ lb.), peeled
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup flour
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites (preferably unpasteurized)
½ cup grated Gruyere
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 2-quart soufflé dish with 1 teaspoon butter. Dust the inside of the dish with 2 tablespoons Parmesan and shake out the excess. Set aside.
• Trim the stem and root from the zucchini and discard. Using a food processor or box grater, grate the zucchini and roll it in a clean kitchen towel, pressing out as much moisture as possible, then set aside.
• In a small pot, warm the milk over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
• In a large saucepan, make a roux by melting the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly until the flour loses its raw smell, 2 to 3 minutes.
• Remove the roux from heat and stir in the warm milk, basil, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Return to medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes.
• Remove the mixture from heat and add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking until incorporated. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan, the Gruyere and the zucchini. Set aside.
• Using a hand mixer on high speed, whip the egg whites until stiff, shiny peaks form, about 5 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the zucchini mixture, ¼ cup at a time.
• Lightly spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared dish. Place the soufflé in the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the soufflé rises and the top is browned. Serve hot.

Zucchini Escoveitch Fish en Papillote

4 servings

Lighten this traditional Jamaican dish by steaming the fish in parchment paper instead of frying it.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 1½-inch thick white fish fillets, such as cod or halibut (about 2 lbs.)
¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 medium zucchini (about ½ lb.), peeled and julienned
½ medium carrot, peeled and julienned
½ small white onion, thinly sliced
½ red bell pepper, julienned
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and minced
¾ cup water
¾ cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Cut 4 pieces parchment paper into 15-by-15-inch squares. Brush the center of the parchment paper with the olive oil, then place a fillet in the center of each square. Season the fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Top each fillet with 1 teaspoon butter. Set aside.
• Place the zucchini, carrot, onion and peppers in a quart-sized zip-close bag.
• In a small bowl, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Add the mixture to the zip-close bag. Seal and shake the bag to evenly distribute the marinade. Marinate at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes.
• Drain the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer then evenly distribute the vegetables on top of the fillets.
• Seal the packets by bringing up the sides of the parchment paper and tightly folding them down. Tightly fold the two open ends.
• Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes.
• To serve, place each packet on a plate. Use a knife to cut open, being careful to avoid escaping steam.

Zucchini Crisp

6 servings

This surprising dessert uses a whopping 3 pounds of zucchini.

¼ cup plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter, divided
6 medium zucchini (3 lbs.), peeled
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup tightly packed brown sugar
½ cup old-fashioned oats
¼ cup flour

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with 1 teaspoon butter and set aside.
• Trim the stem and root from the zucchini and discard. Cut in half lengthwise. Use the tip of a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Chop the zucchini into ¾- to 1-inch pieces.
• Place the zucchini pieces in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Stir until the zucchini is evenly coated, then pour into the prepared baking dish.
• In the same mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, oats, flour and the remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Cut the remaining ¼ cup butter into the mixture. Using your hands, combine until the mixture forms pea-sized lumps. Sprinkle the mixture over the zucchini.
• Bake until the top is golden brown and the zucchini softens, about 35 minutes. Serve warm.