I’m not a witch, so I don’t know when summer officially “ends,” but for me, the season always feels over after my birthday. This summer really flew by, and the most interesting thing I “did” was get really into zucchini. I used to think I didn’t care for zucchini. Now I love it. People can change.
It started with growing zucchini. Being fairly self-involved, I am more likely to care about things that I put time and effort into, and so I finally began to feel true affinity for these big green squashes, their flowers, and the little bees that pollinated them. (I used to be afraid of bees! Now I like them! People can change!)
But the most significant factor in my evolution from zucchini tolerator into zucchini stan was Smitten Kitchen’s zucchini butter spaghetti. That recipe whips, and it made me realize my biggest misstep with the squash in general: I just wasn’t cooking it enough.
Making zucchini butter pasta sauce is very simple. You just take a bunch of zucchini shreds and cook them in butter and salt (and maybe a little garlic) until they reduce down to a mass of jammy, lightly caramelized, spreadable mush—excellent mush, which has uses that go way beyond pasta.
One of my favorite times to deploy the zucchini mush is at breakfast. I make the mush (sometimes I add cherry tomatoes), slather it on toast, then place a fried egg on top of the mush. If I picked a few zucchini blossoms that morning, I give them a quick sauté and put them on top of the egg too. Zucchini mush toast is a thing of beauty, and the best way to eat vegetables for breakfast. To make it, you will need:
- About a cup of shredded zucchini
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)
- 2 big pinches sea salt
- 1 egg (or 2, if you’re a scrambler)
- Bread of some kind
- 2 (or more!) zucchini blossoms
Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a medium pan and add the zucchini, tomatoes (if using), and salt. Let cook for about half an hour. It will give off a lot of water, which will keep it from sticking to the pan, but give it a stir every once in a while just to be sure. It will go from this:
and finally, to this:
That’s the mush—the good stuff. While the mush is mushifying, go ahead and toast your bread of choice and cook your egg. Fried, poached, scrambled—all are good, but today I was feeling decadent, and went with a caramelized cream egg.
Remove the mush from the plan with a fork or slotted spoon, taking care to leave a little bit of oil in the pan. Spread the mush on your toasted bread, slide your egg on top of the mush, and quickly sauté your zucchini blossoms in the leftover mush oil until wilted. Drape the blossoms over your egg, and eat immediately.