Take one big zucchini

July 2, 2008 at 1:46 pm Leave a comment

Did you miss a big one under the leafy canopy of your zucchini plants? Never fear. I have the definitive, melt-in-your-mouth way to prepare a large, stuffed zucchini. And it won’t even heat up your house in the process. I adapted this recipe from a friend who spent many summers camping with her family on sandbars in Mississippi. Tough life but someone has to do it.

Okay. If you are using a charcol grill, this would be the time to start it. You are doing the bulk of cooking for this dish outside.

Take your large zucchini, slice it lengthwise and core it out until you have two shells or “boats.” Reserve the zuke innards. Cut a bit of pork — chop or roast — very fine (not too much meat, this dish is mostly about your zucchini). Saute the pork with a clove of crushed garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add a dash of tamari or whatever spice/herb combination works for you. After you’ve browned the pork remove it from the pan. Now take your zuke shells and lightly saute them — front and back — in the same pan. This is a step I’d never done with stuffed zukes before but according to my friend it helps soften up the outer skin of the zuke. Pull these after just a minute or two. Put in the chopped zucchini innards and add back the pork/garlic mixture. Cook until the zucchini is getting soft but not mushy. While the zucchini is cooking, grate some cheddar cheese. Again, not too much — don’t overwhelm your zucchini. When the zucchini/pork mixture is done, add it to a bowl with the grated cheese and mix those things together. Put the zuke shells on a doubled square of aluminum foil. Put your stuffing mixture into the shells. Pull and crimp the foil up all around the zuke shells — but not covering them — until you’ve made a kind of a provisional roasting pan. Pour in about 1/2 cup of chicken or veggie stock. Your goal here is to put in just enough liquid so the zuke shells will not burn or stick to the aluminum foil. Then put a little grated parmeasan cheese on top of the shells. Crimp the foil around the zukes so that you’ll get a little steaming action from the stock. But don’t completely cover and seal the foil as you want the cheese to be able to brown. Carry the whole lot out to your grill. Place it on the grate and close the lid. Cook for about 45 minutes or until a piece of uncooked pasta slides easily into the meat of the zukes, the filling is bubbling nicely and the cheese is golden brown. Remove the foil packet from the grill and bring it to the table. Let it stand about five minutes and serve.

The Kid and I had this for dinner last night. He cleaned his plate down to a shine, asked for seconds and completely devoured that too. This is, quite simply, the best zucchini dish I have ever tasted.

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Entry filed under: Cooking, Piedmont.

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