Sunday, June 21, 2009

Roasted Zucchini Hummus: Getting ready for the annual zucchini glut

I did the cooking demonstration yesterday at the Athens Farmers' Market. Because zucchini season is nearly upon us, I developed and showed a recipe to exploit that vegetable, which can so be delightful for a while then piles up in the field and the fridge. I'll use the recipe, along with its accompanying wine-herb polenta, in an Athens Banner Herald column in a few weeks.

Zucchini isn't even "in" big time yet in north Georgia. But in addition to the one for the Farmers' Market, I've come up with two other zucchini creations, which will also find their way into the newspaper this summer.

My editor had expressed interest in zucchini recipes -- almost desperate interest. She's a Community-Supported Agriculture ("CSA") member plus her husband gardens. She hates to waste local organic produce. It sounds like she gets swamped with zucchini, as she did with lettuce some weeks back.

Here for my blog readers is one of the new zucchini dishes. If you try it, please tell me your reactions and suggestions.

Since this is an appetizer, I am not putting out wine recommendations. Only that with appetizers that contain lemon juice, as this one does, the wine should have some acidity, as do most white Sauvignon Blanc and red Grenache (Garnacha) and Malbec wines.

Roasted Zucchini Hummus

1 pound young, narrow zucchini
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt plus to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dry
1 small clove garlic
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), available at Middle Eastern and whole foods groceries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 moderate sprinkles black pepper

Set oven for 375 degrees.

Cut off stems and bottom tips of zucchini. Cut squash into 1-inch lengths. On cookie
sheet, toss pieces with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and oregano.

Roast 5 minutes on upper shelf of oven. Turn pieces, and roast until tender with a tiny amount of browning on squash (about 20 minutes). Cool.

Scrape squash and oil into bowl of food processor. Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, pepper, and the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Puree well in processor, scraping down the bowl several times. Taste, and add salt as needed.

Chill in serving dish at least 30 minutes, covered with plastic wrap. The "hummus" can be stored up to 4 days, refrigerated. Stir before serving.

Serve with bread, pita or bagel chips, or plain crackers that aren't heavy with salt.


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