Sunday, August 09, 2009

Grilled Zucchini and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich - What To Do with a Giant Zucchini

Slices of the giant zucchini filled the entire grill.

This Could Happen to You
My daughter-in-law's sister lives nearby. The other night she sent me an email. "I've left something at your door", she wrote. I've eaten all that I could but no one else in the family eats zucchini. I thought you'd know what to do with it". I went to the door and there it was, leaning up against the side of the house. It's August and I shouldn't be shocked as these things can get this big this time of the year. It was chopped off at the top where the poor dear tried to eat her way down the mutant zucchini that her neighbor left for her. At least two feet of it remained. I cut it in a few sections so that I could fit it into the refrigerator as I needed a day to figure out what to do with this thing.

The next day, after much deliberation, my husband Doug and I decided we should try to grill it. We just bought a big Webber BBQ and Doug is really handy at this type of cuisine. I had some nice roasted red peppers, goat cheese and red onions in the house and fresh basil in my garden. We picked up a fresh loaf of seeded sourdough at the local bakery. After carving off some of the bottom which seemed a bit tough, I cut the zucchini into 26 thick slices. Luckily the seeds had not yet matured so the inside was still fleshy enough to eat. The skin wasn't too thick either. The giant slices, each measuring at least 4 inches in diameter, filled the entire BBQ and Doug patiently brushed each slice with a 1 to 1 mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil with some garlic powder and salt. He flipped them over several times until they were nice and brown. Finally, the moment of truth came and as luck would have it, the slices were tender enough to eat!

We brought the warm zucchini slices into the kitchen and prepared the first sandwich. A little spicy mustard was spread on one slice of bread and soft goat cheese on the other. I put down a layer of roasted red pepper, then three slices of zucchini, a slice of red onion and a few leaves of fresh basil. A little freshly ground black pepper to top it off and the sandwich was complete and turned out to be very delicious. More importantly, we saved this poor overgrown zucchini from the compost pile. Of course we still have 20 more slices to eat before I can comfortably declare victory.

Be Prepared
We were lucky to save this one. Many of these baseball bat sized zucchini simply are too tough to eat. But if you have neighbors with gardens, you'd better be prepared. Either you must keep your doors locked and stop answering the phone until the fall or keep a few sandwich ingredients around and the BBQ handy. It wouldn't hurt to watch over the fence and remind your neighbor that there's a nice, tender, young zucchini ready for picking.

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