Saturday, September 12, 2015

Zucchini Butter

This week at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to summer produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm, pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company.

I've been on a zucchini kick this summer. It's funny because I remember distinctly how unenthusiastic I was about this vegetable when I was young, a sentiment shared by my children, who view a zucchini as a failed, soggy attempt at a cucumber. But these days I can't seem to get enough of these summer squash roastedstir fried, or on pizza, so I couldn't resist Erica's bargain bag of zucchini at the market last weekend. 

Faced with this hefty zucchini haul, I decided to try out a recipe I'd been eying for zucchini butter from the food52 genius recipe series. It called for shallots, but I used a lovely slender leek from the market. You simply shred your zucchini (easiest to do in a food processor for a big batch), and cook it down with a generous portion of olive oil or butter (I used both) until the squash melts into a rich spread, which is delicious on crackers or as the base for a sandwich with sliced tomatoes. The best part, for those facing a zucchini glut, is the sense of satisfaction when you see your huge stack of squash reduced to a manageable pot of spread.

Zucchini Butter
adapted slightly from Jennie Cook's genius recipe
makes about 2 cups
2 pounds zucchini or assorted summer squash (feel free to use less or add extra -- cooking times will vary)
2 Tbsp olive oil 
2 Tbsp butter
1 small leek or 2 shallots
Salt and pepper

1. Grate the zucchini in a food processor or on a box grater. Toss with a generous pinch of salt and let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. Mince the white part of the leek or the peeled shallots. Squeeze the water out of the zucchini (you can do this with your hands or by wringing it in a clean cloth towel). 

2. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Sauté the leeks or shallots briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency, about 15 minutes. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the butter for added flavor -- you can splash in a little water to help deglaze the pan.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3, Enjoy on crackers or toast, or as a side dish all summer long!

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