Late-summer bumper crops of zucchini and summer squash necessitate some creative thinking to use it all up. When you don't want to entertain the thought of yet another loaf of zucchini bread, this savory casserole full of eggs and cheese, topped with a lemony breadcrumb topping, is your answer to the annual summer dilemma.
Rustic but Elegant
Zucchini casserole reminds me of a crustless quiche since it's full of eggs and cheese, but there's also room to add a few new flavors to this dish. Melty Fontina and creamy ricotta cheeses, along with fresh basil, give it an elegant Italian-inspired twist.
This soft, custardy casserole needs a bit of crunch to liven things up, so fresh breadcrumbs get tossed with red pepper flakes and a lot of fresh lemon zest to make a crunchy, citrusy topping.
Your Food Processor Friend
To grate this much zucchini, not to mention the Fontina cheese, pull out your food processor and use the grating disc. You can do things by hand on a regular box grater, but the food processor makes short work of grating and is totally worth pulling out for this dish. You can serve this cheesy, comforting casserole with some grilled meat or fish, but it would also be right at home with a green salad if you're looking for a lighter meal.
Farm Stand Freestyle
Shredded Zucchini and Fontina Casserole
Serves 10 to 12
2 1/2 pounds zucchini or summer squash
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6 large eggs
8 ounces Fontina cheese, rind removed
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs (from about 4 ounces French bread)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating the baking dish
Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Fit a colander or strainer over a large bowl; set aside. Using a food processor fitted with the shredding disc, shred the zucchini. (Alternatively, grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater.) Transfer the zucchini to the colander, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and toss to combine. Let sit for 20 minutes to drain. Meanwhile, heat the oven and prepare the rest of the filling and topping.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil; set aside.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Shred the Fontina in the food processor with the shredding disc or on a box grater and add to the eggs. Add the ricotta, basil, garlic, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
Place the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
When the zucchini is ready, use your hands to pick up a handful, squeeze as much liquid out of the zucchini as you can, and place it in the bowl with the egg mixture. Repeat until all the zucchini is in the bowl, then mix everything to combine.
Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with the breadcrumb mixture.
Bake until set and golden-brown on top, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.