The story of zucchini is a tale of empires, beginning with Columbus’ voyages to and from the New World. He took the first zucchino (meaning small squash) seeds back to his native Italy where the vegetable zucchini became ensconced into Italian cuisine. It is a prolific plant with with a number of varieties and culinary options; they can be grated, fried, stuffed, steamed, boiled, shaved or baked. Even the flowers are stuffed, sauteed, fried, or used in salads. Italian immigrants brought the seeds back to the Americas at the beginning of the 20th century.
This recipe came about when I needed a colorful side dish to present for a demonstration. It is simple, easy to make and highlights the beautiful traits of the baby globe zucchini.
Stuffed Globe Zucchini
4 globe zucchini squash, yellow or green
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup ripe tomato, diced
Preheat oven to 400º F. Slice off the top of each squash and discard. Carefully scoop out the insides with a small melon-baller or a teaspoon and reserve. Put 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt in each squash. In a large bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients and transfer to a glass baking dish. Nestle the squash in, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and reserve.
Lemon Almond Pesto
3/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup almond flour or meal
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until cohesive. Fill each squash until rounded at the top. Cover again and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
1 tablespoon organic balsamic cream
1 large tomato, sliced
8 fresh mint leaves
4 Kalamata olives
For setting up individual plates, drizzle balsamic cream on a 4 to 6 inch plate. Place a slice of tomato on the center of each plate, then 2 mint leaves on the top edge of the tomato and a stuffed globe zucchini on top. Place an olive in the top center of each globe. Serve warm or cold.
Save the remaining baking dish ingredients to serve as an antipasti relish with bread or crackers.
Balsamic cream is a balsamic reduction. There is a recipe for it in Vegetarian Traditions