As most foodies and gardeners know, it’s zucchini season. Big time. Most people who have the green bats growing in their backyard are rather overrun with them at this point. I bought some zucchini the other day as an homage to my summer in Budapest, where zucchini was practically the only vegetable we bought or ate. It was available in abundant quantities and cheap as hell. Plus, it went well with pasta, roasted with potatoes and sausage or chicken, and even in sandwiches…which is pretty much what my friends and I ate on a daily basis. Of course, as always seems to be the case with zucchini, it’s like the never-ending vegetable. I bought two large zucchini, thinking I’d eat them in an instant, but after about a week, I still had an entire one left. So, I did the natural thing: I started looking up recipes for zucchini breads so I could put the squash to a good and different use.
My first thought was to make a sweet bread, like the loaf the SAC moms (read: Student Activities Center secretaries) used to make for us student council kids in high school during the Christmas season. I wasn’t great at making flavor distinctions back then, but I remember it tasted like a cross between carrot cake and ginger bread, which, after looking at the ingredients for zucchini bread, sounds about right. The bread was delicious and spicy, but after several days of strange New York rain, the sun was starting to come out, and I wanted something that I could appreciate outside at a picnic. So I started looking for savory zucchini bread recipes and I found a great one at What Geeks Eat. I didn’t make the recipe verbatim; I substituted extra virgin olive oil in for butter, for example, but this recipe is great. It’s better than great. It’s phenomenal. I couldn’t stop eating this loaf, which posed a bit of a problem since I was hoping to bring it to a picnic with friends the next day. I wasn’t sure it was going to last.
Luckily, it did! Sadly, our picnic was thunderstormed out, but I mean, it wasn’t the first time I was caught out in open fields with rows of tall lightning-attracting trees, so I wasn’t too phased. This bread was soooo rich and delicious right out of the oven: the onion, parmesan, and olive oil permeate your mouth as thick bread melts in your mouth and coats your mind with a sense of flavor ecstasy. BUT while I was Googling savory zucchini breads, several foodies who had tried the recipe said that the bread tasted EVEN better the next day (it was hard to believe), so I waited. Both my friends and I were lucky that I held out on the advice of other, more experienced bakers for the bread was more mature the next day, in the way that some cheeses taste better as they age, and the flavors were better blended.
Make this bread at your own risk: you might just eat the entire loaf by yourself in one 5-minute sitting if you aren’t careful.
Recipe for Parmesan Zucchini Bread (makes 2 loaves, adapted from What Geeks Eat)
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 1 medium onion, grated
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups whole wheat white flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or 30 seconds of grating a nutmeg on a microplane
1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease two loaf pans (I used PAM).
2. In a bowl, mix together grated zucchini, onion, eggs, olive oil, honey, and Parmesan cheese.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry.
4. Pour the batter into the pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops of the breads are browned and a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.