It’s the start of a new month and we all know what that means right? Time for a new Featured Ingredient!
I spent a lot of time deliberating what ingredient would feature this month. There’s been many a spread sheet put together, lots of time in heated discussions with foodie friends and even more research done. Why so much effort you ask? Simply because we are in the middle of spring and there is just so much to choose from. Fruit and Vegetable markets are practically bursting at the seams with a huge variety of beautiful, fresh, seasonal ingredients and I’ve had an extremely difficult time narrowing it down to just one. So after much toing and froing I’ve FINALLY decided that this months featured ingredient is will be……… (Drum Roll please)……. Zucchini!!
Zucchini or Courgette, like fennel, is a very underated ingredient and I want to give it its moment in the spot light! Zucchini is essentially a squash. The family has endless varieties of colours, shapes and sizes all being delicious and versatile.
The most common variety of zucchini is the Blackjack which is characteristically long, thin and dark green. Another popular variety is the Lebanese zucchini which has a more defined swelling at the tip and is pale green. Possibly the “fanciest” version of incorporating zucchini these days in an effort to impress your guests is the ever popular zucchini flower.
When buying zucchini look for…
It should have a smooth, glossy and unblemished skin. Do not buy any that are soft or squishy to the touch as it means they are old.
Zucchini flowers should be sold in a sealed bag as they wilt and die very quickly and this will help prolong their life. The flowers should be vibrant and closed.
How to cook it…
Zucchini can be cooked using a myriad of methods. Anything from steaming to char grilling, roasting to stuffing and everything in between. Zucchini is very subtle in flavour and therefore can be paired up with almost any other ingredient.
Personally I like to grate mine and add it to my spag-bowl or with lamb mince and pine nuts for a more Middle Eastern flare.
Zucchini flowers are great stuffed with cheese then battered and deep fried or just fresh through a salad. This month I’ll be showcasing my version of recipes that we are all familiar but we’re also going on a journey which involves thinking outside the box and will discover some weird and wonderful ways to use zucchini.
So this month join me in discovering the zany world of zucchini!