Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A New Use for Zucchini

After completely overdoing the zucchini this past summer, I am finally to the point where I can begin to eat it again. Really, I'd had enough of it for a long while, and learned my lesson well for next year. I was looking for a different appetizer to serve this past Sunday and I found a recipe for zucchini squares. It was a savory recipe, and used shredded zucchini. At first I glanced past it, too much zucchini still strong in my brain, but then I went back to it, really looked it over, and decided it couldn't hurt to try it out. I pulled two packages of zucchini out of the freezer to thaw. I had previously shredded them and froze them in 2-cup packages, the amount I need for a batch of zucchini bread, so I was kind of excited to find another use for them!

The rest of the ingredients were simple. Eggs, seasonings, oil, cheese, and biscuit mix. I still have that box of Bisquick Heart Smart lurking around, so I was happy to find another use for that as well. I looked at the oil called for, and decided it was way too much and reduced that to 1/3 of a cup from 1/2, and I suspect that it could be reduced further to 1/4 cup yet. I had to eliminate the onions because a guest who was coming was allergic, so I also left out the seasoning salt called for (who knew onions lurked in so many things!). Instead, I used grey sea salt and some Penzey's Tuscan Sunset- a fabulous salt-free blend that really perks up anything I use it in. When it came time to add the zucchini I decided to squeeze the liquid out of most of it and use all four cups. I poured the delicious smelling mixture into the pan and baked it up, and in no time I had a savory little appetizer begging to be cut into squares and eaten.

I've decided that I like this one. I honestly wasn't sure if I would like it, but all the flavors came through, and I thought the only thing missing was some marinara to dunk them in. Altogether we ate about half the pan, so I have the remainder in the freezer to be pulled out for Christmas- this time with the marinara. I think I'm also going to cut them into fingers to be easier to dunk. This is a great way to use up some frozen zucchini, and a nice no-fuss appetizer to serve to guests. They freeze beautifully, a quick run through the oven and they perk right back up, so these Zucchini Squares would be excellent to have around for unexpected drop-ins.

Zucchini Squares

4 large eggs -- beaten until smooth
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian spice blend (I used Penzey's Tuscan Sunset)
1/2 teaspoon grey salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup biscuit mix (Bisquick Heart Smart)
4 cups zucchini -- grated and squeezed to remove excess moisture
1/2 cup cheddar cheese -- grated (or mozzarella)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce -- for dipping

To the eggs add, parsley, spice blend, salt, garlic powder, oil & biscuit mix.

Mix well.

Add remaining ingredients, stir until mixed.

Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

Bake 350f oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden.

Cut into squares.

Serve warm or cool with marinara sauce for dunking in.


JEP said...

When I first saw the word zucchini, I thought isn't this winter--ha! I like this idea! Do they firm up enough to eat with the fingers? I can see swapping out cheeses for whatever you have on hand & of course dip in your sauce as suggested. What a great out-of-the-ordinary holiday appetizer--thanks!

Erika W. said...

Yes, they are very firm- like a sturdy brownie.

If you're averse to zucchini this time of year, I also think this would be good with frozen broccoli- chopped and thawed.