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Master Gardener Sharron Hanna

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As giant zucchinis bust out across the province we think it's wise to reach out to Master Gardener Sharron Hanna for some tips on growing and maintaining your food garden. She's the author of The Book of Kale and will have, of course, some great kale growing tips. She will also  talk about blueberries, and zucchinis. And for her zucchini recipes click "read more".
Two Zucchini Recipes from Sharon Hanna

ZUCCHINI TOMATO GRATIN
Perfect for the "one that got away". Zucchini is at its best when picked young so it's challenging to use big ones. (If you grow 'Romanesco' - an Italian zucchini with scalloped edges, even when it gets a little on the large side it stays useable). Don't mess with baseball-bat sized regular zucchini: it makes a good doorstop.

•    1/4 cup (60 mL) grated asiago, parmigiano or other grating-type cheese
•    2-3 slices of stale bread ripped up (not too stale) or panko - about 1 cup (250mL)
•    A nice handful of basil leaves
•    a few fresh thyme leaves (optional)
•    Pinch of cayenne
•    1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped
•    salt and pepper
•    2 lbs (1 kg) zucchini - no baseball bats
•    olive oil for drizzling - about 3 Tbsp (45 mL)
•    tomatoes (about 1 lb)
•    anchovy bits (optional)
•    1 cup (250 mL) any cheese you like - emmenthal, cheddar, feta, goat's cheese - or a mixture
Whirl cheese, bread or panko, herbs, cayenne, garlic, salt and pepper until everything has a nice crumby texture.    
Oil a heavy gratin dish and preheat oven to 400F. Slice zucchini thinly or use a mandolin if you have one - makes it very light work. The first layer is zucchini - if pieces are big they are easily overlapped. Or, you can just put down a layer in any shape - it will all meld together in the end. Evenly strew 1/3 of crumb mixture over first layer. Drizzle modestly with olive oil. Make a second layer of zucchini, strew another 1/3 of the crumbs, a little more olive oil on top, then add the third (last) layer of zucchini. If you like anchovies, you can put a few little pieces on top of the zucchini now.
Lastly, place tomato slices on top; if the tomatoes are large and the slices thin, overlapping is easy. Strew on the rest of the crumbs and (again) drizzle the olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from oven and top cheese. Bake 15-20 more minutes until gratin is bubbling and cooked through. Let it sit for at least half an hour so it has a chance to firm up.   
Serves about 4


TUNISIAN ZUCCHINI
A "meze" from Tunisia - another way to use up zucchini which run rampant. Harissa is a combination of hot peppers, caraway, coriander, garlic and oil. Start with a little harissa; allow the zucchini to mellow for about 10 minutes and add more heat if you like. To serve it, get some sangak (Persian flatbread - try Persia Foods - many locations in Vancouver, North and West Vancouver too) which has been heated in the oven for just a few minutes and drizzled with butter. Or pita, if you can't find the flatbread.
1 ¼ lbs zucchini about 3 medium size (see above - not too big!)
Cut over with water and keep at a low boil for about 20 minutes until cooked. Transfer to a colander and allow to sit and drain. Mash the zucchini in the colander so that some of the wateriness drains, then put it into a bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together everything below but the feta:
•    Scant tsp. harissa paste
•    2 Tbsp. olive oil
•    Juice of one lemon
•    1 clove garlic, finely minced
•    Scant tsp. ground coriander (if you can grind your own seed it will taste 10X better)
•    ½ tsp. caraway seeds, ground in suribachi or mortar/pestle - or leave them whole
•    Grindings of fresh pepper
•    Feta for garnishing
Pour over the zucchini and combine well. Transfer to shallow serving bowl; scatter crumbled feta on top. Serve the dish barely cooled off; it keeps OK in the fridge but tastes the best within the first hour or two.


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