Suddenly it is late summer – almost autumn! – and I have gone from being delighted with the sight of the first bright orange zucchini flowers to feeling slightly overwhelmed with the abundance. I didn’t have much luck with my zucchini plant this year (although I have had partial success), but I have still been gifted several. What to do?
The quintessential Aussie classic for leftover zucchinis is the zucchini slice. Most households have a recipe. It turns up for picnics and barbecue get togethers from late summer onwards. I have no idea where the original recipe came from (Women’s Weekly?) I like it very much, but find it a bit heavy for my taste. And because it uses a lot of bacon, also a bit expensive.
So I tweaked it a bit, to make it more frugal, lighter and just a bit more contemporary. The result? Yum. When it is first out of the oven it puffs up like a souffle. I wasn’t expecting that, and it was such a nice discovery. It doesn’t last and deflates after a few minutes, but cuts easily if you are serving as a slice the next day.
I took this to a food bloggers gathering a while back. I felt a bit insecure bringing such a frugal, simple offering to a meet up with some of the best food bloggers in Canberra. But this dish stood its own amongst the offerings. Make it and be proud to share it at your next pot luck gathering.
6 eggs (medium)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup of ricotta cheese
Sprinkle of parmesan/light cheese for topping
1/2 cup olive oil (or as good as you can afford)
Around a third of a large, overgrown zucchini
3 tablespoons roasted capsicum or sundried tomatoes sliced thinly (can substitute cherry tomatoes, halved)
Salt and pepper
- Slice in the onions into small chunks, splash with olive oil and bake in the oven while you are preparing the mixture.
- Peel the green outer layer off the zucchinis. This step is only necessary if the zucchinis are large as the skin becomes tough – you can use the whole zucchini with a smaller vegetable. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Grate, and put in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and place something heavy on top (e.g. a small plate). Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes or longer, then rince with water.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs and the ricotta until they are smooth. Season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg.
- Squeeze the zucchini in your hands to ensure that as much liquid as possible is removed, then add that to the eggs and ricotta mixture. Stir in the chopped fresh herbs, and also the finely chopped roasted capsicum. Finally, add the roasted onions (slightly cooled).
- Sprinkle with some cheese and homemade breadcrumbs. Bake in a hot oven (e.g. 160C) for around 20 to 30 minutes
Cost (based on ALDI prices):
1 cup of ricotta cheese $1.38
breadcrumbs free (homemade, leftover)
olive oil 80c
zucchini free (gifted)
roasted capsicums 50c
fresh herbs free
Salt and pepper