The greens are still a-comin’, but we are going to turn our attention to another vegetable that can sometimes be such a nuisance that friends will run shrieking if they see you approaching with a bagful. Or a bushel full, as the case may be. This might be apocryphal, but I have heard heartbreaking stories of how these vegetables are just abandoned on the steps of family, friends, acquaintances, and even perfect strangers. Sometimes with a note, most times not.
I am, of course, referring to zucchini—or, courgettes as they are called across the pond. Right now, in Maine, they are little and trim, almost sweet looking, and this week they were innocently tucked at the bottom of my CSA bin from Farmer Kev. But before long, in the garden, these sweet little veggies will grow and grow and if left untended on the vine, become large enough to be used as a murder weapon.
And let’s be honest. When it comes to taste, zucchini is definitely the bland cousin of the vegetable world. (Perhaps that’s why they grow so large. To compensate for their muted flavor.) While peas, corn, tomatoes, and delicata squash make us rejoice, all too often zucchini makes us sigh.
Nevertheless, zucchini has its uses. Grated, it adds a nice texture to muffins or bread, and its mild flavor complements tomato dishes. Last but certainly not least, zucchini is very economical. As indicated above, sometimes you don’t even have to pay for it.
While the zucchini is still in its slender, innocent phase, I decided to take what business people might call a proactive approach and find ways to use those little darlings.
I wondered, what if you grate a small zucchini, add some garlic, sauté the mixture in a skillet for a couple of minutes, add eggs beaten with milk, and sprinkle with basil? Scramble the whole mixture, then cover with grated cheese. What would happen?
I’ll tell you what happens. You get a dish so tasty your Yankee husband not only says “Pretty darned good” but also adds “This would make an elegant dish for brunch.” Now, how many times have you ever heard the word “zucchini” paired with the word “elegant”?
Best of all, despite the chopping, this dish goes together fairly quickly, making it a perfect week-night supper. Add some homemade bread and some sliced cucumbers. Maybe even a white wine with a fresh taste. (Don’t even consider a Riesling.) Not only will you have made use of zucchini, but you will also have a delicious meal.
Note: Fresh basil is absolutely essential for this dish. If you don’t have some growing in your garden or in a pot, then spring for it at the grocery store or at a farmers’ market.
Mediterranean Scrambled Eggs
Makes two hearty servings
- 1 cup grated zucchini
- 1 cup grated cheese (I used a sharp cheddar)
- 2 tablespoons of minced basil
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 4 large eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- On medium, heat olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the garlic and the zucchini for two or three minutes.
- Add the beaten eggs and the basil.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Scramble away.
- When the eggs are done, sprinkle with grated cheese, cover, and turn off the heat. Let set until the cheese is melted.
- Serve and eat immediately.