I’m one of those people that love farmer’s markets and everything that they have to offer. Fruits and vegetables are so flavorful when you buy them in season.
Besides being a low calorie food, zucchinis (or “summer squash”) are so quick and easy to cook, and are packed with nutrients and fiber. When you buy zucchini, make sure to choose the small sized ones with bright and firm skin. You can add this vegetable to a diverse array of dishes or eat them by themselves, whether it be grilled, steamed, roasted or fried. Just don’t cook them for longer than is needed.
|Women selling vegetables in Tarecuato, Michoacán. Photo Courtesy of Sergio Alfaro|
|A colorful day at the Tarecuaro, Michoacán Market. Zucchini-Squash flowers fresh and ready to cook.|
Visit this website to enjoy the beauty of Michoacán, México.
In Mexico, we love to cook zucchini in stews like “Calabacitas con Puerco” (pork with zucchini), with corn (a favorite for many), and, of course, deliciously stuffed with cheese, like in this recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t make stuffed zucchini nearly as much as I should. I usually steam them and top them with Mexican cream and fresh cheese or “Mexican Style”, with corn. But when I do, we really enjoy it as a royal treat from summer, all thanks to the farmer’s markets in my area.
Here is a recipe that even the little ones will enjoy.
- 4 zucchini-summer squash, medium size
- 1 1/2 Tb. white onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 tsp. parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup Oaxaca or quesadilla cheese, shredded (Mozzarella works well, too)
- For the sauce
- 4 Plum tomatoes, cooked or canned.
- 1/2 Tbs. Olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped.
- 2 Tbs. white onion, finely chopped.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you prefer to cut the zucchini in half instead of how it’s indicated below, the results are just the same.
- Cook the tomato sauce while you wait for the stuffing mixture to cool.
- You can opt to add the tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking dish and then place the stuffed zucchini before baking. If you decide to use this option, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil since
- the tomato sauce tends to splatter quite a bit while baking.
- You can prepare this recipe up to step 6 ahead of time, and bake just before dinnertime
1. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees. Grease a medium size baking dish with butter and set aside. Place the zucchini on your cutting board and, with a sharp knife, slice 1/4 of the zucchini lengthwise*, and finely chop the part you removed and place in a bowl. Scrape out the seeds of the zucchini. If you scrape too much of the pulp, the tender zucchini will break apart, so be careful with this step.
2. Fill a medium saucepan with 2/3 parts of water and place over medium high heat. When it starts boiling, carefully place the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove zucchini from saucepan, pat dry with a paper towel and place zucchini cut side up, in your greased baking dish.
3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; add onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until onion starts to turn transparent. Add garlic and reserved chopped zucchini; cook for 2 minutes and remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Let it cool for a couple of minutes. Add the beaten egg, parsley, bread crumbs and shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Place cooked tomatoes in your blender and puree until you have a smooth texture. Add water (if needed) for a thinner texture.
5. Heat oil in a skillet over a medium high heat; add onion and cook for 4 minutes, until onion has softened, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Stir into the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.6. With the help of a small spoon, divide the stuffing mixture among the zucchini.
7. Top with extra cheese, if you wish, and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Cheese should be melted and the mixture topping should look firm and slightly browned.
8. To serve, spoon some warm tomato sauce on a dish and then place the zucchini. (See Notes above for other options)
The best accompaniment is some white rice with avocado slices, and depending on where you’re from, perhaps some bread.