The First Zucchini

So, I have not ‘fessed up as of yet. But I have a garden too. At the peak of harvest I am not quite sure how I will eat all of these goodies (probably will freeze, pickle or can, but that’s another post), but I certainly look forward to trying. I am lucky enough to have gotten in the first year that an empty lot near my apartment was turned into a great community gardening space. For $15 a year, the lucky twenty gardeners (there’s a long waiting list now, I hear) have their own little plot of paradise. It is looking quite lovely now, after all the rain of June has subsided (although it’s pouring pretty hard right now) and July finally offered us some sunny days. It really is a community affair – we have veggies swaps and monthly meetings with scones from the great bakery up the street to fortify us as we weed common areas. This is my third (or is it fourth?) growing season, and every year I learn a bit more about what works in my climate/ city environment/ space and what is better suited for larger country gardens.

Anyway, among other deliciousness, I have some zucchini plants taking over the front corner of my 8 x 8 plot. These plants are doing very well in my little farming oasis, which is somewhat ironic since I didn’t plant them. Not this year at least. I planted some squash last year that never fruited, and lo and behold I have a quarter of my garden taken over by beautiful, robust plants this year! Not that I am complaining, it is just a bit sad that my best gardening efforts are accidental. Anyway, more on my homegrown goodies as they ripen, but for now I will focus on my first (giant!) zucchini of the season. It was almost a shame to pick it, but I certainly wanted to get to it before the squirrels.

It was so huge that I have made two dishes thus far and still have a third of it to go. Thus here’s an appetizer and a breakfast dish (or lunch or dinner too I suppose) using those beautiful squashes you are starting to see at the market:

Nani’s Zucch Patties

Shred two cups of zucchini, set aside for 15 minutes in a colander with a sprinkle of salt. Squeeze out the remaining liquid and set aside.

Meanwhile beat two eggs and combine with 1/2 c parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, T chopped fresh basil, one minced garlic clove. Add to the zucchini with 1/2 c bread crumbs; mix well. Form into patties and pan fry in olive oil – try for three minutes or so on each side, but cook until nicely browned. Add more bread crumbs and/or parm before frying if they aren’t sticking together well. (When working with fresh veg, the water content is always a wild card.)

This next dish is a version of a breakfast dish whose leftovers make a great lunch. The spring onions I had this week were gorgeous, huge ones from the farm share. You could use scallions (white and green parts), the whites of leeks, or any onion, I suppose. I just love the fresh, tangy sweetness of spring onions and will definitely be planting some in the garden next year.

Zucchini Breakfast Frittata

In a cast iron skillet (or omelet pan, I suppose) saute the equivalent of about 2 T of thinly sliced spring onions in olive oil, with a dash of salt. When just softened add 1/2 cup of freshly grated zucchini – still nice and damp. Add 4 beaten eggs seasoned with salt, pepper and some fresh chopped oregano. Make sure the eggs and veggies are evenly spread out in the pan, turn down the flame to med/low and put a top on it. Let cook, untouched, for about 4 minutes, then start checking. You want the top cooked (steamed really). If it is sticking to the pan, add no more than 1 T water, lifting up the edges so the water gets under the eggs, and put the top back on for another minute. It is done once the top of the eggs are set and the frittata slides free.

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