Sunday, December 18, 2011

Eat: Stuffed Zucchini "Boats"

I guess you could say that this week’s dish was love at first sight. As soon as I saw the photo for this stuffed zucchini recipe, I was hooked. The mix of colors nestled into a perfect little vegetable “boat” was simply too much for me to resist. Plus, my previous foray into stuffed tomatoes turned out so fantastically that I felt as though I was ahead of the cooking game. All in all, this recipe was not particularly challenging; the most difficult part was removing the zucchini halves from their baking dish without destroying them! Given the nature of its ingredients, this dish is best when served right of out the oven. With that in mind, I suggest that you make only what you plan to eat in one sitting. The up side to this was that I used a leftover fresh zucchini as inspiration to bake zucchini bread and muffins!

The recipe that I used (from Kayotic Kitchen) simply suggests “cheese” to sprinkle atop your newly filled zucchini boats. Well, I must to tell you, my friend, that your cheese selection is far more important than that description implies. Although this dish offers much in the way of presentation, texture, and health, its flavor tends toward subtle. The cheese you select will greatly impact the overall taste of the dish. I used blue cheese and recommend it, but other scrumptious options include (yet are not limited to) gorgonzola, feta, parmesan, provel, and provolone. Those are a few that I really enjoy, but the possibilities are expansive. Choose one that you already love or be a little adventurous and try something new!

TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes
YIELDS: 4 servings

1 tablespoon of light sour cream or crème fraiche
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of yellow curry powder
½ of a tomato
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 zucchinis
1 onion
your choice of cheese (I used blue)
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Begin my preparing the zucchinis. Thoroughly wash and dry them, then slice each in half lengthwise. It is not necessary to cut off the rough ends but remember to not eat them later! Using a regular-sized spoon, scrape out the middle of each zucchini half leaving a ½ inch shell. It should look like a miniature canoe.

Now, chop the newly scooped-out zucchini, onion, and tomato.

Sauté the chopped onion in a dollop of oil for a few minutes; add the curry powder and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Note: if you allow the onions to cook in curry for too long, the blend will become bitter.

In a large bowl, mix together the onion, thyme, salt, sour cream, zucchini “pulp”, and tomato. You can also add pepper, to taste.

Grease a glass baking dish (whatever size best accommodates the zucchinis; I used a 9 x 13”) and set the zucchini shells in it. Fill each shell with the vegetable blend and sprinkle generous amounts of cheese on top.

Bake the zucchinis for approximately twenty minutes and check their progress. Turn on the oven’s broiler and cook for a few minutes longer or until they are lightly browned.

To garnish, you may use a bit of fresh parsley. You can also cut each zucchini half into smaller portions to serve as a side dish.

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