When I think about summer vegetables, my fantasies turn to juicy tomatoes, those cute little cucamelon cucumbers (they look like a baby watermelon!), and juicy red peppers. My reality, however, is usually zucchini. One plant can yield what feels like hundreds of pounds and by the end of the summer I’m struggling to find new ways to use this seasonal, and very economical, vegetable.
A few years ago I was introduced to Sicilian Sun-Dried Zucchini by Hank Shaw of the website Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook (honest-food.net). You salt zucchini for an hour or so, blot it dry, and dehydrate it until it’s leathery and just starting to turn brown in spots.
Sicilian Sun-Dried Zucchini
This is zucchini at its most zucchini-ful. With most of the water gone, all you taste is the purest essence of zucchini. You can use a dehydrator as I did, or lay the zucchini on parchment-lined sheet pans and roast at 140° until dehydrated (about 6 hours), or string it up on string or skewers and hang the rounds outside to dry. Store the dried zucchini airtight in the freezer.
4 zucchini, about 3 pounds
2 tablespoons salt
Slice zucchini into disks about ¼ inch thick. In a large bowl, toss zucchini rounds with salt. Let them rest for about an hour.
Pat the disks dry and put into a dehydrator or use one of the methods outlined above. Dehydrate until pliable and dry, but not crisp.
Store in the freezer.
Using sun-dried zucchini
Toss the zucchini rounds into vegetable soup to rehydrate.
Sauté the zucchini in hot oil with sun-dried tomatoes, sliced garlic, chopped chilies; top with lemon juice before serving.
Make a simple frittata for 4: Whisk 8 eggs together, add 2 handfuls of sun-dried zucchini, a handful of shredded cheese, and a generous amount of chopped fresh herbs. Pour into a nonstick 10-inch skillet and cook, covered, over medium heat until the eggs are cooked through.