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October 29, 2007

Trust Me: Zucchini is Seafood


Ahoy matey, set sail for flavor!


Let us today disabuse ourselves of the notion that the only food suitable for association with the water is fish or seafood. Let us today enlarge our horizons to include some of our more earthy foods, starting with the zucchini squash.


Size matters, especially in this case. You will want zucchini that are large enough to handle a little punishment but not so large that the insides are unpleasant to eat.


Cut your zucchini down the middle with a stout knife, and take a spoon to the insides. Scoop out the zucchini and then chop into small pieces. Set this aside.


What remains will look something like a canoe made out of squash. What it will become is a barge filled with delicious earthiness. We have now linked squash and water, and it is hoped that this will broaden some minds.


It is time to meet the crew.


Sauté chopped onions and chopped mushrooms in olive oil, garlic and salt until soft. Add to that the zucchini bits and also some cooked rice. Add some dried parsley and allow the flavors to meld in the bottom of the pan.


Once these have softened, it is time to heap them into the canoes. There should be enough to fill the canoes and create small heaps on top. They have ceased to look like canoes and now look like barges filled with garbage.


This will be an unappetizing thought to some, especially given the colors. Here is a suggestion that would allow you to make things worse – into the crew mix some lightly steamed spinach. The browns will be mixed with greens, and it will look like what a five-year-old would produce if you asked him to draw a landfill.


It is time to start the terminal phase of our food preparation: cooking it all together. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and over the top of the zucchini sprinkle grated parmesan cheese.


Set the zucchini halves into a pan, the bottom of which is covered in a thin film of either vegetable or chicken broth, to add moisture.


Place the pan into the oven for about a half-hour, covered with a piece of tin foil. Remove the tin foil and cook about 10 minutes longer, until the cheese has melted and started to turn brown.


Again, you will be tempted to think of a child’s drawing of a landfill, with something ugly oozing over the top of the garbage.


Take the pan from the oven and allow it to cool. It will continue to look like a garbage-filled barge, but do not be tempted to place this in the water to see if it floats. Softened zucchini sides are subject to sagging dangerously, and attempting this could result in history’s first shipwrecked zucchini.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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