Sunday, April 19, 2009

Too many zucchinis

When I went shopping at the Co-Op last week I bought a pile of locally grown zucchinis as they looked so gloriously green and plump. What to do with too many zucchinis then?

I dislike zucchini bread and cake but I remembered a moussaka in Elizabeth David's Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen that used zucchinis in place of eggplant. I'd seen it when I was hunting out easter bun recipes last week. It required a pound of zucchini so I blissfully thought this would use up my pile - sadly not, not even by half.

Then on Twitter through links frombecca I found Zπατάτες με κολοκυθάκια or Patates meh Kololythakia sto Fourno: Baked Zucchini & Potatoes with Feta Cheese which easily used up the rest and I set to on this wet Sunday to bake both of them.

While these were baking I hunted out more great zucchini recipes on Epicurean.com.

I altered ED's recipe quite a bit as I already had an organic beef mince ragu and I used this instead of her method for preparing the mince. I didn't add the eggs to the mince either and I added a top layer béchamel sauce with 1/4 cup parmesian and an egg. This was how I was taught to make moussaka by my Greek neighbour when I was a girl.

Courgette musaka [sic] by Elizabeth David
As ED says, the more commonly known version of this dish uses aubergines (eggplants), but sometimes courgettes or potatoes are used instead. She also says that the layers of pale green courgettes in between red and brown of the meat and tomatoes makes this a beautiful looking dish.

Ingredients
1 lb of small courgettes, 1 lb of finely chopped or minced meat which can be lamb or beef, cooked or uncooked,1 1/2 lb tomatoes, a large onion, a glove of garlic, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, a teaspoon of finely ground allspice and dried fresh mint, 2 or 3 tablespoons each of stock or bread crumbs

Wash the courgettes but don't peel them. Cut each lengthways into slices about one-eight of an inch thick. Salt them slightly and leave them to drain for an hour or so. Shake them dry in a tea towel, fry them gently in olive oil until they are tender. When all are done, put more oil in the pan and in this fry the finely sliced or chopped onion until it is pale yellow. Put in the meat. If already cooked just stir it around until it is amalgamated with the onion. If it is raw meat let it cook gently for about 10 minutes until it is nicely browned. Add seasonings and herbs and, off the fire, stir in the beaten eggs.

In a separate pan put in the skinned and chopped tomatoes and the crushed garlic clove and simmer until most of the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Now coat a 2 to 2 1/2 square or round and not too deep cake tine lightly with oil. Put in a layer of courgettes, then one of met, one of tomatoes and so on until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a rather thick layer of tomatoes. On top sprinkle bread crumbs and then moisten with the stock. Cover the tin and with a piece of foil, with the tin standing on a a baking sheet, in a low oven 330oF, for an hour, but at half-time remove the foil,. If the musaka looks dry add a little stock.

6 comments:

  1. yum - I bet it tasted as delicious as it looks

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  2. Thank you!

    We had the Zπατάτες με κολοκυθάκια tonight and it was scrumptious. Something for you to make next year when your zucchinis go busting out all over.

    The moussaka is always best when its rested for a day/night and then reheated.

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  3. The Zπατάτες με κολοκυθάκια sounds wonderful--I love zucchini and am always looking for new savory ways to use it, as I'm not a big fan of the sweet uses either!

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  4. Thank you Roving Lemon, I don't mind sweets but I lived an alternative lifestyle many moons ago and cakes made from veggies were often on the menu, so like lentil bake, I'm over them LOL!

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  5. Lovely & fab dish! I totally adore it! I have a lot of courgettes now in my ngarden & I am on the lookout for new recipes so I will surely try this lovely recipe!

    Thanks!

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  6. Many thanks Sophie,both dishes are really delicious but the Zπατάτες με κολοκυθάκια was the best :)

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