Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One Great . . . way to use zucchini

The calls and questions are coming in: What to do with all the zucchini. What with that rainy spring and all, zucchini seem to be growing to baseball-bat proportions overnight.

So a posting by food writer Regina Schrambling on www.epicurious.com's Epi Log quickly caught my attention Tuesday afternoon: A Turkish-inspired zucchini spread. Just the thing to serve with pita bread and a salad for a simple summer supper, or maybe dip up with crostini or pita chips. I showed it to my zucchini-growing co-worker and we both agreed it needed to be tried.

Luckily, I had everything but fresh dill, which was optional anyway. I even had Aleppo pepper (my spice cabinets overfloweth), but that's really pretty optional too. Otherwise, you just need Greek yogurt, a little mayo, walnuts and garlic. And zucchini. But that part shouldn't be hard.

Turkish Zucchini Spread

Adapted from food writer Regina Schrambling on www.epicurious.com

1 pound zucchini
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup (or less) plain Greek yogurt
3 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup ground walnuts (see note)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
A pinch of sea salt
About 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dillweed (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or coarsely ground black pepper

Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. (Schrambling suggested peeling a few strips off the zucchini, but I skipped that. Zucchini skin is so thin, there's no reason to peel it.) Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high. Saute the zucchini for several minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Place the zucchini in a bowl and mix with the yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic and ground walnuts. Season to taste with salt. To serve, spread it on a plate or small platter and sprinkle with fresh dillweed. Mix the pepper and 1 tablespoon olive oil, then drizzle over the top. Serve at room temperature.

NOTE: I ground the walnuts and the garlic together in a mortar and pestle, which worked great. It left the walnuts a little chunky, adding more texture. Or you could mince the garlic and pulse the walnuts in a food processor. One cup walnuts should yield about 3/4 cup ground walnuts.