Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini

I don't know about you, but I am drowning in zucchini. My garden is producing in overtime this summer and every day I am picking 2-4 zucchini and summer squash. This past week I had gotten to the point that even with giving away a fair amount, one of my produce drawers was full. With no where left to turn, I sat down with recipe book, cookbooks and my laptop and decided this would be the week when we finally used up all these courgettes.

Of course I was excited about a challenge involving one vegetable over the course of six meals, though I can't say the same for my husband or child. Michael was never a huge fan and Jack isn't exactly a lover of vegetables at this stage in his life. This didn't stop me. By the end of the week (though at this time I still have the sixth and final recipe to go) I think I made a zucchini lover out of my husband and my son. The one night that we ate out this week, Jack actually asked the waitress if they had zucchini pizza and proceeded to order and eat it. Score one for me!!

This particular recipe was my husband's favorite of the week. He has actually already requested that I make it again. Jack's favorite was a pasta dish with raw tomatoes and zucchini and mine was a grilled cheese. In honor of the abundance of this vegetable over the season, I'll post another recipe soon. This stuffed zucchini dish is the best way to use up those extraordinarily large ones hiding in the garden or that are sitting at the farm stand waiting for someone to buy them, but any size zucchini will work.

I love this dish because I feel that you can't go wrong with Mediterranean flavors. The combination of shrimp, dill and feta is classic Greek. You could even throw in some chopped calamata olives to the mixture to add another layer of flavor. Just adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Feta and Shrimp Stuffed Zucchini
adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, July 2009
serves 3-4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped dill
3-4 zucchini, halved lengthwise (I made this with only 1 large zucchini and had extra filling for another meal, I would say 1 zucchini per person for a dinner)
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, fennel and garlic and cook over medium high heat, stirring, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and cook, mashing, until thickened, 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove from the heat; let cool slightly. Stir in the shrimp, parsley and dill.

Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a 1/4-inch shell all around. Rub with oil. Season the zucchini shells with salt and pepper and stuff with the filling. Transfer to a lightly oiled roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, until the filling is cooked through and the zucchini is just tender.

Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat. Top the zucchini with the feta and broil for 5 minutes, until the feta is melted and golden. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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