Zucchini is Italian, courgette is French. Both roughly translate to the same thing; small squash. Which is exactly what it is, an underdeveloped squash. We’re eating the bambino! Squash were domesticated over 7000 years ago in Mesoamerica, but the zucchini was bred in Milan in the late 19th century.
The term courgette is used in most British or French colonized countries, whereas Mediterranean territories and America use zucchini. History leans in favor of Zucchini in my eye, but the Brits got here first, so I guess either name is fine by me. Then again, the French did give us Ratatouille, so…
A zucchini by any other name, right?
Either way it is a versatile vege with plenty to offer. Even the zucchini blossom can be stuffed, batter and fried, another classic Italian dish.
It’s another pepo, or berry by classification (We can add that to the cucumber and tomato fruit salad) with a decent amount of Vit A (40%DRI) vit C and potassium.
At the right time of year these wee beauties are bountiful. It’s a good idea to have a half dozen recipes at the ready for the first few months of the year. More on that to follow!
To prep: Rinse, slice off the stem and blossom ends. Then slice or chop. Scrape out seeds from the baseball bat sized zucchinis before using them to bake.
To use: Slice young Zucchini raw into salads. Try them in stir-fry or with pasta. Lightly steam (4-5 minutes) and dress them with fresh herbs or pesto. Or coat Zucchini lightly in oil and roast at 180 degrees whole or sliced in half for 15-45 minutes. Bread them and make zuke fries.
To store zucchini in the fridge, keep them whole, dry and unwashed in the vege drawer. They will keep for about a week. They’ll go a touch wrinkly eventually, as long as they’re not mushy they’re fine.
Zucchini are not a great vegetable to freeze fresh. If doing so, squeeze as much liquid out as possible and use the frozen zucc for baking, sauces etc.
Best practice is to blanch slices, cool, dry then freeze on trays then bag the slices. They will hold for up to 3 months.
Preservation: It can be fermented, pickled, made into a relish or dehydrated.
One idea from Food in a Jar; cube your zucchini, combine it with olive oil, garlic and herbs of your choice then reduce in a pot until half evaporated. This spread freezes well.
- Vegan courgette ricotta
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 pack firm tofu
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon oregano finely chopped
bit of chilli
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
Blend everything until smooth. Use it as a spread, in pasta or lasagna (courgette lasagna!)
- Stuffed zucchini flowers w/ courgette ricotta and parmesan (battered and fried)
- La ratatouille de mamie (grandma's ratatouille)
1 brown onion, diced,
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 capsicums, sliced
4 tomatoes, in 1/8ths
Sprigs of thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper
Fry your onion, garlic and capsicum, then add tomatoes. Add a few sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves and season. Leave to gently simmer for around 30 minutes.
Cook one aubergine and 1 courgette, sliced, in a separate pan until they become tender then add them to the simmering tomatoes and gently cook for another 15 minutes.