Monday, November 16, 2009

What Are You Eating? Crustless Zucchini Pie

Summer squash. What can I say? I go weak in the knees for the beauty of these plants.

We've tried for three summers to grow them on our roof and each time I'm thrilled by a transcendent blossom like delight is crushed by the dastardly powdery mildew, which takes hold and steadily decimates the plants.

See the mildew already in this 4th of July photo, on the leaves at left and right?

Every single year this happens. Usually I spray some benign and ineffectual substance (like milk) that obscures the beauty of the plant's colors and sheen while I watch it die.

And still I plant.

Out of season here, happily there's a truckful of inexpensive summer squash at our local produce place, and it's organic to boot (meaning no pesticides, elucidated here in language stark enough to prompt you to run right out and start making plans to expand your garden next year).

We searched the ethers for a way to use the squash, and stumbled on this recipe for crustless zucchini pie. Using a full two pounds of grated zucchini or yellow squash, it's an easy and accommodating treat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or appetizer.

As a bonus, the recipe called for mint, still flourishing in our in-ground garden.

The prep falls into what I call the One Big Bowl category. Mix everything and then pour onto a piece of lightly oiled parchment on a roasting pan. The "crust" is built in, in the form of eggs and a wee bit of cornmeal to bind. There's also feta cheese for tart creaminess and onion.

I snagged a few true end-of-season tomatoes from the roof to slice and partially top our pie. Here's the mixture spread out. We prefer a thinner presentation, but you might not. Just ensure it's an even thickness.

When this baby came out of the oven, I had to exercise real restraint not to dive in before it cooled. We slid it off the baking sheet and onto a rack (parchment intact). Once cut, it didn't last long and our local recipe testers nodded positive feedback with full mouths.

The second time we made it, a few adjustments:
  • the 1/3 cup olive oil seemed extreme and I thought made it soggy. We cut back to a scant 1/4 cup and increased the eggs from two to three.
  • we boosted the 1/4 cup packed mint leaves to a half cup+, plus I liberally added dried oregano and basil and fresh parsley.
  • for breadcrumbs, panko are the crunchiest in the land.
And here it is, fresh from the oven.

You can play around a lot with what goes into this pie. I envision future versions with diced red sweet pepper and scallions, or even sliced hot peppers. Whatever's fresh from the garden or winter produce store.

What are you eating?


Sun said...

Yum-Y! My squash croaked out early this year due to stem borers, none for me this year. :(

What we're eating is still purple pod beans and salad. Since we seldom get a hard freeze here, I suspect we'll be eating PP beans all winter at this rate!

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