Zucchini, Two Ways

As the weather warms up, zucchini and other summer squash are plentiful at local farmers’ markets. Chef Maria Capdevielle, a cooking instructor at Kitchen on Fire, shares two of her favorite zucchini recipes to enhance your summertime meals.

Roasted Zucchini with Mint Pesto

For the pesto:
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup loosely packet fresh mint leaves
1 large clove fresh garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the zucchini:
4 zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon pepper

To make the pesto, process all the pesto ingredients together in a food processor or blender.

To make the zucchini, preheat oven to 400°F. Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise, brush lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. Roast 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Alternatively you can grill them one minute on each side. Remove and cool. Spread about 1 teaspoon of pesto on one side of each grilled zucchini slice; roll up and serve.

Zucchini Blossom Fritters

Chef Capdevielle recommends these fritters as a perfect summer appetizer. Find zucchini blossoms at local farmers’ markets, Berkeley Bowl, or in your garden.

For the filling:
1 cup ricotta, drained
¼ cup goat cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
1 tablespoon mint, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the batter:
1 cup flour
1¼ cup water
1 egg
Pinch salt

Assembling ingredients:
16 zucchini blossoms
Canola or olive oil for frying

Wash and dry the flowers carefully and remove stems. Make filling with ricotta, mint, and basil, plus salt and pepper to taste. Fill each flower with the ricotta mixture. (A pastry bag can make this task easier.) Close the flower by twisting its top.

Make the batter by mixing all the ingredients. Heat ½ inch oil to 375°F. Dip blossoms in batter to thinly coat. Fry coated blossoms, turning once, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer with tongs to a rack covered with paper towels to drain. Season with salt.

Photos courtesy of Maria Capdevielle.