WAY BACK IN 2005 Talk about the cup runneth-ing over! I'm turning into a vegetable glutton. I've been excited about this A Veggie Venture project from the very beginning, way back in April. [Background: Yes, A Veggie Venture started off in 2005 as no more than personal challenge to cook a vegetable in a new way every single day for a month!] But now, when everything is so ripe and fresh, all I want for supper is one vegetable after another!
Tonight's Zucchini Timbale is one more good reason why – the kitchen smelled heavenly! It's a sort of crustless quiche, shredded zucchini and onion soaked in eggs, milk and cheese. It was easy-easy to make, either for tossing in the oven immediately or assembling ahead of time or even baking in advance. I used a standard pie plate but ramekins might be great for company, fewer portions or "portion size management". (OH: and if you think this sounds good but a bit time-consuming, check out Shredded Zucchini with Thyme, same grated-zucchini idea, much simpler.)
TIMBALE: What in heck is a timbale? First, it's pronounced, TIM-bull, not tim-BOL-ay. But after that, it gets less clear. A timbale usually has a crust (this doesn't). A timbale usually has meat (this doesn't). Okay then. From now on, I'm going to call this "Crustless Zucchini-Cheese Pie". And yes, I've made it in a pie pan for triangular slices but it would work just as well in a simple casserole dish, cut in squares or rectangles.
AND AGAIN IN 2015 Ten years! It's been way too long since I've made this great little summer pie. Talk about time flying by so fast. I remember it well – but a repeat just didn't happen until now. We couldn't get enough of this!
2015 EXTRA CREDIT Check the picture carefully, anyone "see" how a vegetable-loving grandfather garnished the top of this casserole in hope that three vegetable-averse grandsons would give it a try?! Too cute!
RECIPE for ZUCCHINI TIMBALE with CHEESE
(Crustless Zucchini Cheese Pie)
Liquid-release time: 1 hour
Assembly time: 5 minutes
Baking time: 35 minutes
Time to table: About 2 hours
ZUCCHINI & ONION
2 pounds zucchini (about 4 or 5 mid-size), grated (see ALANNA's TIPS)
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (both skim and whole work fine)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces grated cheese (see TIPS)
1/4 cup rough bread crumbs (panko works, so does a sturdy bread torn into small pieces)
2 ears corn (How to Cut Corn Off the Cob), optional but lovely
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (mint, basil, oregano, etc.)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grape tomatoes, halved, for garnish
ZUCCHINI & ONION Toss together the zucchini, the onion and salt in a collander. (Go ahead, get in there with your hands, it'll speed the job.) Let it rest in the sink for an hour. After an hour, grab clumps of zucchini over the sink and squeeze, releasing as much liquid as possible. It'll be a lot – I measured 3/4 cup!
REMAINING INGREDIENTS In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the milk and garlic. Stir in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate while the zucchini drains.
COMBINE Heat oven to 350F/180C. Lightly butter a baking dish (a pie plate, quiche dish or cheesecake pan, say, even a casserole dish). Stir together the drained Zucchini & Onion and the Remaining Ingredients. Garnish with tomatoes, go ahead, be creative!
BAKE Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. The recipe suggests serving this either hot, at room temperature or cold. I liked it all ways but have a special fondness for room temperature.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
ZUCCHINI Use all green-skinned zucchini or for a little extra color, use one with yellow skin.
GRATING I'd pack my Cuisinart for a desert island but it isn't worth the bother for soft zucchini – cleaning and grating five good-sized zucchinis takes only six minutes. (Yes, I really do time things when I think they matter!) That said, when it came time to grate the cheese, too, I wondered if I'd made a mistake. I don't think so, because the manchego was also a snap to grate and the dishwasher was already plenty full. That last, in fact, was the deciding factor! If you grate by hand, protect your fingers by leaving the stem intact for a handle. I also grated the zucchini right over the collander, saving a dish. Hmmm ... is dishwasher space a continuing theme?
BREAD CRUMBS Panko doesn't qualify as a "fresh" bread crumb but since there's rarely a loaf of bread hanging around here, I always keep it on hand for recipes that call for bread crumbs. I find it pretty easy to find these days, even at my every-day supermarket.
CHEESE I use a Spanish manchego, one of my favorite cheeses, as the recipe specified. It's got a sort of grown-up flavor, not "stinky" but ripe and a bit sour. I think both kids and less food-adventurous grown-ups would be more than happy with a more-familiar supermarket mozzarella, say, and I wouldn't hesitate to use that either.
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MORE FAVORITE SIMPLE ZUCCHINI RECIPES~ Zucchini with Tomatoes & Cheddar ~
~ Easy Cheesy Zucchini ~
~ Feta-Stuffed Zucchini ~
~ more summer squash recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Zucchini Spiral "Noodle" Salad ~
~ Carrot & Zucchini Bread ~
~ Mediterranean Eggplant ~
~ more summer squash recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
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