Much Ado about Zucchini, Part 2

When The Zucchini reach the old world, you can say, it was magic.  The Italian not only gave the squash variety its commonly known name, but they have developed dozen of ways to cook zucchini.  Both the Italian and the French have created so many wonderful ways to eat zucchini it would be impossible to list them all.  My favorite is zucchini flower that is stuffed with fresh ricotta cheese and French truffles, then deep fried.

The further east you travel the more ingenious the recipes become. In the East Mediterranean countries, cooks use a special scoop, which looks very much like an apple corer, but it is longer and narrower, and scoops out the core of the zucchini without piercing the skin.  When I visited my family recently, I was helping my mother by coring the zucchini, and by accident pierced the skin of the squash.  My mother looked at me, shaking her head almost in sorrow, and took the corer away from my.  “And you call yourself a chef, ” she said. 

Once the zucchini is hollowed out, it is filled with meat and rice and onions, then boiled in tomato sauce, with mint, salt and garlic.  Two of these are enough to feed a hungry farm worker.

When buying zucchini, look for  the ones that have a glossy green skin and should feel firm.  Flappy zucchini are a no-no, as these are too old for good cooking.  The smaller and skinnier the zucchini, the better the taste, because, as usual, these have fewer  seeds in them.  There is no need to peel the zucchini, but when you wash it check the skin to see if any grains of sand have grown into the skin.

Zucchini with Bulgur and Lima Beans

serves 4

3        zucchini, diced

1        medium onion, chopped

1        cup forzen lima beans, defrosted

4        tablespoons olive oil

2        cloves garlic, mashed

1/2    cup chopped cilantro

1         cup coarse or #3 bulgur wheat

1  1/2 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

-Heat the olive oil in large sauce pan.

-Add the onion and saute in oil until tender, about 5 minutes.

-Add teh zucchini and saute for couple minutes.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

-Add lima beans, garlic and cilantro.  Stir and cook for couple of minutes.

-Add water, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring water to boil.

-Add the bulgur, stir and then cook over low heat until bulgur is soft and water is gone, about 10 minutes.

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