Friday, February 08, 2008

Zucchini Sott'Olio and Zucchini Soup

Do you kinda get the impression that zucchini's are taking over my kitchen? Well you would be 100% correct in that assumption. As much as I love them, I'm sick of trying to find ways to use them up before they expire.

This first recipe is from a General Practitioner in Melbourne, Pietro Demaio, who has written a book "Preserving the Italian Way". This book not only shows you how to preserve food, Italian style obviously, but it is also Peter's way of preserving his Calabrian heritage. I've only done this one recipe so far, but shortly the eggplants are going to bowl over the zucchinis, and this book will be invaluable, so I can enjoy the fruits of my labour well into the cold depths of the forthcoming winter.

Ulrike from Kuchenlatein, who, along with Kalyn, is famous for founding blog events, one being the very successful World Bread Baking Day, is kindly hosting this week's installment of Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging,

My method of pressing the zucchini's is somewhat unorthodox, making do with equipment I had on hand, so try to keep your laughter to a minimum please. The amount of moisture that comes out of zucchinis, pressed this way, is enormous.

I hope Peter doesn't mind me sharing this recipe.

ZUCCHINI SOTT'OLIO (or Zucchini in Oil)
1o garden fresh zucchini
5 cloves garlic
Table salt
500 mls white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of oregano (I used my dried oregano instead of fresh)
Olive oil (extra virgin was my choice here)

Slice the zucchini into 3-4 mm slices.
Place slices into a container that has vertical sides (big enough to hold a plate with bricks on top).
Cover each layer liberally with salt and mix well.
Place a plate over them and then top with a weight of about 10 kgs, or 4 house bricks.
Leave zucchini under weights for 24 hours.
Remove the weights and drain the moisture from the zucchini.
Loosen the slices with your hands then pour on good quality white wine vinegar and mix thoroughly. Allow to stand for an hour. The zucchini will seem to absorb the vinegar.
Replace the plate and weights and press for another 12 hours
Again drain the excess vinegar.
Lastly squeeze the strips by hand and place in a bowl.
Mix the pickled and dry zucchini with chopped fresh garlic, home dried oregano and hot chilli to taste, either whole or finely chopped, and either fresh or dried.
Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into prepared glass jars.
Press the vegetables, garlic and herbs into the jars, adding a small amount of olive oil as you press down, to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed.
Finally, press firmly and cover with olive oil, ensuring that you have no zucchini above the oil level.
Check after 2-3 days to see if the oil needs topping up, as the vegetables will absorb some of the oil. Seal and store.

These stay very crunchy, and are a marvelous addition to any antipasto plate.

Well, that got rid of a couple of kilo of zucchini...now, only a couple more to go.

Keeping with the Italian theme, this zucchini soup is rich and decadent, with parmigiana reggiano and basil, adding brilliant flavour.

INGREDIENTS

1kg small green zucchini
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup packed basil leaves, chopped
sea salt and black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
¼ cup pouring cream
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
50g finely grated parmigiana reggiano
cream, to serve

METHOD

Cut zucchini lengthwise into quarters, then into 1cm pieces.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a heavy based saucepan, add garlic, basil, chopped zucchini and 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste) and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until zucchini is lightly browned and very soft.

Add chicken stock and simmer over medium heat for 8 minutes. Process zucchini mixture, in batches, until smooth, and then return to saucepan. Adjust seasoning to taste with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Stir in cream, parsley and parmesan and cook over medium heat until heated through; do not boil.

Ladle soup among 6 warm bowls, drizzle with a small amount of cream. Serve immediately.


7 comments:

ostwestwind said...

Thanks for participating WHB. I hate such zucchini "problems". Thanks for sharing your recipes

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Peter M said...

Pam, I've never seen zucchini prepared or presented in this manner very dramatic and the ingredients are agreeable with me (lots of oregano).

I can't wait to try this in the summer.

Kalyn said...

Both these dishes sound just great. I'm wishing I had zucchini problems instead of snow removal problems.

A scientist in the kitchen said...

Zucchini overload! We don't have zucchini here though. Lovely pictures.

Pam said...

Thanks Ulrike, great roundup as usual.
Peter, I'm sure you can turn a zucchini into a Greek masterpiece in one way or another.
Kalyn, I'm sure your snow will be making way for a beautiful herb and vege garden very soon.
Gay, maybe you know them as courgettes. Picked when small and fresh from the garden, they are indeed a lovely vegetable.

This weekend the plants will be coming out though, to regain some of my garden back!

Cynthia's garden said...

I am definitely going to try this. I tried oven-drying some last week and the result wasn't quite what I'd hoped for. I already have a new stockpile of zucchini so this time I am going to try your recipie. Thanks.

Cynthia's garden said...

just bottled some! They look great. I can't wait to take a jar to the neighbours and serve some up at our party next week.