Friday, 4 August 2017

Cheese-Stuffed Zucchini

Another day, another boat! This time it's one we found in the zucchini patch. Fortunately, the rind was not tough and the seeds were just starting to form, so still quite edible. Usually I do a meat-stuffed zucchini but I thought cheese would make a nice change. This is still pretty stuffed to the gunwales, so mound up that filling carefully.

One zucchini down, *counts* - 22 to go. More coming. We're in trouble; aren't we? Tell me again why I let Mr. Ferdzy plant 14 zucchini plants?

2 to 4 servings
1 hour or a bit more - 30 minutes prep time

Cheese and Breadcrumb Stuffed Zucchini

1 semi-boat zucchini; say about 600 to 700grams  (1 1/2 pounds)
3 slices stale sandwich bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium onion, with a green top
1 shallot
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh savory or thyme
225 grams (1/2 pound) ricotta cheese
1 large egg
100 grams (1/4 pound) extra-old Cheddar cheese

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh to 1/4" or so of the skin, and salt the zucchini halves and place them in a steamer insert. Put the pot of water on to boil, and when it does put the zucchini in and steam them for about 7 to 10 minutes, until just tender. Rinse under cold water (gently!) until cool then place them in a lightly oiled baking dish.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into fairly small cubes. Heat the oil in a large skillet and put in the bread cubes, tossing them around at once to coat them as evenly in the  oil as possible. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and toasted. Season with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the zucchini flesh into small bits. If there are any mature or at least tough seeds, remove them; but there should not be too many or your zucchini is too far gone. Peel the onion. Wash and trim the fresh green stem from it, and chop it finely. Chop the onion finely. Peel and mince the shallot and garlic cloves. Clean and mince the herb.

When the bread cubes are crisp and toasted, put them into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and cook the chopped zucchini flesh, the onion with its greens, and the shallot until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, remaining salt, and minced herb to the pan and mix in well, cooking for just a minute or so more. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the bread cubes and let cool for 10 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

When the zucchini, onion, etcetera,  mixture is cool enough, beat in the ricotta cheese and the egg. Grate the Cheddar cheese and add half of it to the veggie and cheese mixture. Fill the zucchini halves with the mixture, and sprinkle the remaining Cheddar over the tops. Bake for 30 to 40  minutes until the Cheddar cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Last year at this time I made Green Beans with Mustard-Tahini Dressing

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