Green-Skinned & Tender-Hearted: Zucchini

Ingredient Spotlight

It's safe to say that the phrase "there's always more where that came from" was invented specifically for summer zucchini. Starting late-June, the zucchini starts rolling in from gardens and farm stands, and it won't stop until first frost (if then!). Are you ready for the zucchini season?Zucchini is a vegetable with a gentle nature. Its dark green skin may seem intimidating, but that's only to protect its creamy, mild-flavored interior. The entire squash is edible — barring its tough stem, but including its bright orange flower. Zucchinis can be eaten raw, grilled, roasted, sautéed in butter, deep-fried, stuffed, grated for baking, juiced for smoothies, and almost any other cooking application your imagination can invent.

These squashes are best when they are young and slender. Pick ones that are glossy-skinned and unblemished, and that feel very rigid. If the zucchini feels at all squishy or flabby, put it back. These zucchini will keep in a refrigerator drawer for about a week before starting to lose their firm texture.

When it comes to cooking with zucchini, you can go one of two ways: keep it simple to celebrate its mild sweet flavor or use it as a backdrop for whatever spicy, strongly-flavored ingredients you can find. A basic salad of raw zucchini ribbons tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt hits the spot on a hot night. A rich ratatouille or grilled zucchini skewers dusted with spice mix are fantastic when we're in the mood for more flavor.

Here are some of our favorite zucchini recipes:

Healthier Zucchini and Carrot Fritters
Zucchini and Garlic Soup
Zucchini Bread
Goat Cheese Tart with Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Onions
Zucchini Stuffed with Sausage, Mushrooms, and Sage
Squash Ribbon Salad

What are your tried and true zucchini recipes?

Related: You Won't Miss the Meat: 10 Vegetarian Barbecue Recipes

(Image: Kzen/Shutterstock)

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