Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Too many zucchini? Get the jump on summer’s abundance with this recipe for tasty Herbed Zucchini Fritters with Stone Fruit Salsa.
My daughters love to go to the farmers’ market with me to pick out the vegetables that look the most appealing to them that week (although this is not as much fun as the bounce house they have there). During our visit last week, my kids were intrigued by the small globe squash and eggplant available at one of my favorite stands. They thought they looked like little vegetable planets and started deciding which one was Venus and which was Jupiter. If there’s anything better than “cool” vegetables, it’s vegetables that make my kids think, so obviously I bought two bags. As I handed over my money, I realized that in addition to the minor science lesson, this was the perfect opportunity to make one of my favorite summer dishes: stuffed squash and eggplant.
This post’s recipe is for a zucchini tart, because I can’t seem to stop loading up on them each week at the market. But to make this an any-kind-of-vegetable tart, replace the zucchini with about 1/2 cup sautéed leeks; blanched asparagus, green beans or chopped broccoli or cauliflower; freshly cooked chopped spinach or other greens; fresh, chopped tomatoes; fresh corn kernels; or a mixture of any of these. You can also add a sprinkle of fresh herbs, like basil, marjoram, oregano, chives, or swap out the cheeses for your favorite.
Zucchini is best barely cooked. Baked, fried, or simmered too long, and it looses its moisture content and becomes soggy. Al dente and raw zucchini recipes highlight the squash’s naturally subtle sweetness and crisp texture. It’s unfortunate that so many people overcook their vegetables anyway, but with zucchini, it is — as my mother would say — a sin because you lose its innate nutty sweetness. Following are four of my favorite recipes which I think capture the summer flavor of zucchini best.