We know this Mesoamerican Cucurbita pepo squash under this name, but would you be surprised to know that some people make a difference between mature and immature fruit, calling the former a marrow and the latter zucchini? Or is it courgette? Too many names for a culinary vegetable that many of us won’t be able to distinguish from a cucumber. To make things even more complicated some folks go further and divide squashes by gender. Italians have a masculine form – zucchino and a feminine form – zucchina. And we have no idea how they tell one from another. The good news is that everybody is equal in the kitchen, so are zucchinis. Especially when they are blended to smithereens with leek, celery, apple and basil into soup or cooked on a grill with cherry tomatoes and halloumi cheese.
We love zucchini for its delicate and mild flavour profile that works perfectly as a canvas, helping to shine other colourful ingredients through. It’s so plain that chefs managed to incorporate it into bread and chocolate cakes. Now you know the easiest way to make your kids eat more veggies! A less radical recipe might be zucchini pancakes. These can be made in no time by mixing together 2 cups of shredded zucchini, 50 g / ½ cup of flour with 1 egg and seasonings. And then – scooping the mixture into a hot pan, forming pancakes and sauteing them until brown and crispy. Eat as is or serve with sour cream and gravlax if you need a really luscious meal.
Speaking of luscious, zucchinis have the most beautiful yellow blossoms that just happen to be edible. Blossoms, or flowers, are very perishable and fragile, that’s why you rarely find them in supermarkets. But they are frequent guests to farmer markets. They have that delicate zucchini flavour, making them a great raw snack on their own. But more often they are stuffed and baked or deep-fried. Simply imagine battered flowers turned into the still beauty of brittle tempura. Or try to make traditional Italian stuffed zucchini blossoms. Gently wash them, pat dry and inject with fresh ricotta mixed with parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Close the petals so that the filling stays in place, cover with flour and pan-fry them in plenty of oil until nicely golden. Remove from the heat and let them drain on paper towels. Try to serve immediately, pour yourself a glass of wine, share this recipe with everybody.