Ahh the joys of a garden. There are so many lovely benefits of having one-as a stress reliever, a sense of gratitude and self satisfaction, a food source, and many more. That is until you come across the zucchini and summer squash plant. You know, the one that will not stop producing veggies no matter how hard you try to make it stop. Here's the scoop on the squash and how we evolved from loving the plant to wishing it would go into retirement.
Once upon a time Jack and I really wanted to start a successful garden. We purchased organic seeds from local areas and afar. We planted them inside, cultivated them as they grew nicely. Then when the weather was warm, we transplanted them. And killed most of them. We didn't know the first thing about gardening, especially the one essential rule- slowly introduce seedlings to the outside world. Take them outside during the day, and bring them inside at night for about 1 week. Well, most of our little guys went to plant heaven, and as a result, we went to our local farm to purchase ready to plant vegetable plants. The only criteria we had was that the plant had to be very difficult, if not impossible to kill. So we picked zucchinis, summer squash, cauliflower and eggplant. They were all about 3 inches tall in May. In July, the zucchini and squash have grown to take over the garden. Every other day Jack hauls inside another 10 or so. The fridge is loaded with them, and we are slowly running out of ideas to do with them.
I've done the zucchini bread (a fabulous low fat, whole grain recipe from my friend Laura), the grilled veggies, pickled zucchini, stuffed zucchini, and zucchini stir fry. And there are still at least 10 in the fridge. One recipe that I wanted to share though was a Summer Squash galette. The meal was pretty easy to put together, requires little hands on time, and is delicious. It was a perfect Friday night meal. The recipe was from Smitten Kitchen, and modified with a different cheese or 2, but will definitely be something that Jack and I make again.
If anyone has any zucchini recipes to share, please do. Chocolate Zuccchini bread and zucchini salsa (with fresh Mass peppers and tomatoes!) is on the very near horizon.
Zucchini and Summer Squash Galette
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds (We used a zucchini and summer squash combo)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese (We used Romano)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.
Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.