Saturday, August 8 is National Zucchini Day. How are you going to celebrate the zucchini?
While I couldn’t quite remember the context, I did remember hearing a tale or reading a story during zucchini season about how people often open their mailboxes only to find zucchini and more zucchini for days because of abundant neighbors’ gardens.
After a little web searching, I found a quote by author Barbara Kingsolver who wrote about an abundant zucchini crop in her book, Animal Vegetable Miracle as well as her recipe for chocolate chunk zucchini cookies. And she’s not the only one, plenty of food bloggers blather on about the proliferation of the zuke while providing creative recipes like zucchini vichyssoise, goats in boats and pickled zucchini people (a weird science experiment), and zucchini ribbon salad.
What exactly is a zucchini?
According to punchbowl.com: “The common zucchini is a close relative of the cucumber and the melon. It is a type of squash that comes from Italy. In fact, the name “zucchini” comes from the word ‘zucchino,’ which means “small squash” in Italian. The largest zucchini on record was 69.5 inches long and weighed 65 pounds! It probably wouldn’t have tasted very good though. For the best flavor, always choose a small or medium sized zucchini.”
In Tucson you can celebrate the popular zuke by munching on “zucca” chips from North Italia. Think thinly-sliced and deep-fried zucchini chips. I bet you can’t eat just one bowl; they are so addictive. Or you can try the zucchini fries with a sprinkling of Parmesan and ranch dressing at Zinburger.
I was first introduced to zucchini decades ago at Cafe Figaro in L.A. (Who remembers that place?) CF used to offer a stuffed zucchini filled with seasoned ground meat and minced vegetables topped with melting cheese served with their fabulous homemade bread. These days I just roast zucchini or finely dice, sauté and top with a runny fried egg.
But back to the basics, keep eating your veggies.