Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Savory Zucchini Roll

I have become a bit obsessed with Swiss rolls, or "jelly" rolls, or roulades, or whatever it is you want to call them, ever since I made my first successful one. They look so fancy, it's hard to believe that once you have the right pan and some parchment paper, they are easy-peasy.

I've been obsessed with them but I haven't actually been making many, until this one. The problem is that I really try not to make too much cake. However, there are a lot of savory versions and they make very glamourous vegetarian main dishes. They are also suitable for a fancy brunch or afternoon tea.

And at this time of year, with the zucchini piling up, this is a great way to use some up. This is modelled to some degree on the Turkish Mucver that I love so much, but it is milder in flavour and definitely more refined and elegant.

We thought this was very good, but it needed something - being perhaps a little too refined and mild. It would be great with very thinly sliced smoked salmon laid over the cheese before rolling it up, or maybe roasted red peppers or red pepper jelly, thinly spread. Thinly sliced  ham, even. Or you could up the quantity of herbs used, and add crumbled feta cheese to the filling and make it even more like the original mucver.

8 to 16 servings
1 hour 15 minutes - 45 minutes prep time
not including cooling time

This makes quite a long roll; 16 inches in fact. The picture above shows about three-quarters of it, since I had to cut it to fit my longest serving plate. You could cut the recipe in half, or you could cut the roll in half before filling and put in 2 different fillings.

Serve it with light salad and maybe some bread and butter. I found the leftovers were okay, but got a bit soggy with sitting. I think the milk from the filling was being absorbed back into the "cake". You can make this in advance but it should still be the same day it is served, and if you think it is more than will be eaten by a significant amount, making half the recipe would be a good idea.

Make the Roll:
750 grams (1 1/2 pound) zucchini
1 green onion, finely minced
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh mint
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
the yolks of 6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups soft unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
the whites of 6 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Wash the zucchini, and trim off the blossom ends. Grate them using the regular (coarse) side of the grater. Lay them in a colander or sieve in layers, sprinkled with salt, and set it aside to drain for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile wash, trim, and mince the onion and garlic. Wash and dry the herbs, and mince them finely. Finely grate the Parmesan. Put these in a large mixing bowl.

Line a 12" x 16" jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Add the shredded zucchini to the bowl of herbs, first lifting it out of the strainer by the handful and squeezing it as hard as you can to remove as much moisture from it as you can. Throw each handful into the bowl as it is done. When it is all squeezed dry and added, mix the herbs into the zucchini then mix in the egg yolks. Mix in the flour until it is evenly distributed and the zucchini is coated in a thick but lump-free batter.

In a smaller mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until very stiff. Fold a good spoonful of the egg whites very gently into the zucchini, then when it is somewhat lightened fold in the remaining egg whites evenly. Spread the batter evenly over the prepared parchment lined pan.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes until firm and just showing a little colour at the edges. Put the pan on a rack to cool. After 5 minutes only, flip the zucchini roll onto a clean tea towel, and roll it up along the long edge. Put the towel-wrapped roll back onto the rack - without the baking pan - to finish cooling.

Make the Filling:
300 grams (10 ounces) soft goat cheese (chevre)
about 1/3 cup yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, or milk
 salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the goat cheese into a mixing bowl and mix in the other dairy product of your choice, a spoonful at a time, until the mixture is the texture of thick frosting. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Gently and carefully unroll the zucchini roll. Peel off the parchment paper. Spread the roll evenly with the prepared cream cheese. If you wish to also add such items as smoked salmon, ham, roasted peppers, etc; now is the time.

Re-roll the zucchini roll, leaving out the tea-towel this time (important!). Manoeuvre it, with the help of the tea towel and whatever broad lifting devices you may have, the the centre of the dish from which it is to be served. I note that this is a large roll, and you may wish to cut it in half and serve it from 2 plates. Garnish it with salady things and so serve it forth.

Last year at this time I made Seedy Summer Savory Pesto (with Cauliflower).

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