I stopped by our garden box on Saturday. In addition to the four edible peas, and armful of nasturtiums, there were four enormous zucchini.
Instead of jumping up and down about the excitement of planting a seed and watching it grow and turn into something I can actually eat, I grunted. ‘Ugh, zucchini, what am I going to do with this?’ I still had five, enormous, uneaten zucchini sitting in a bowl at home.
So, what to do? (Yes. I know I can freeze grated zucchini and, later on when I’m able to consider eating it again, put it in soups and baked goods and whatnot. But I think I’d rather freeze a baked good than grated zucchini.)
Which means, in the last week, I’ve dabbled in zucchini muffins. Zucchini Loaf with Lemon Glaze. Omelette with Zucchini. Zucchini Frittatas. (I don’t really know what the difference is between these two.) Zucchini, Corn and Pepper Quesadillas.
And, last night, Zucchini Phyllo Triangles. I’d done a bit of searching on epicurious for some zucchini-inclusive recipes and came across a recipe for phyllo triangles. It sounded a reasonable idea: fold some cooked zucchini mixture into phyllo dough and call it an appetizer. Or dinner. But, unfortunately, I made the mistake of reading some of the reviews. This is a bad idea if you’re the kind of person who cares about other people’s opinions. Even if you don’t know the people. Or like them And even if those people can’t seem to follow a recipe to save their lives.
But, there they were: a few disgruntled or ‘meh’ reviews. So I didn’t want to bother making something ‘other’ people had pronounced ‘bland’ or ‘too hard’ or whatever.
And yet. I had phyllo dough in the freezer. And zucchini. And I had fresh herbs. And parmesan cheese. So I, person who prefers to rely on bonafide recipes rather than winging it, decided to….wing it.
And the end result was good. Make no bones about it: the triangles taste of zucchini. But at least it’s not another muffin. ‘What do you think?’ I asked the professor after he scalded the roof of his mouth on a triangle.
‘I’d give it an eight and a half,’ he replied. ‘I might give it more if I hadn’t burned my mouth.’
Drink an ounce of riesling with it, and it’s like you went out for appetizers at a nice restaurant. Except you stayed home and listened to Tom and Jerry playing in the background, instead. While your dishwashing-husband said charming things like ‘you know, you’re a pain to clean up after.’
The Summer of Excess Zucchini Triangles
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 shallot, chopped finely (unless you like big chunks of onion-like matter in your food)
1 medium zucchini chopped/diced finely (see previous comment about big chunks of food)
fresh herbs (I used rosemary and parsley)
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
2-3 oz goat cheese
To prepare mixture:
Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes. Or until cooked. (Or, until burnt because you were kvetching about zucchini on Facebook.) Add zucchini and saute for 5-6 minutes. Or until cooked. Add fresh herbs (maybe 1-2 tbsp of parsley) while cooking. When the mixture is cooked, add a pinch of kosher salt. And the parmesan cheese.
To prepare phyllo triangles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lay out one sheet of (thawed) phyllo on a work surface. Think portrait. Not landscape. Spread lightly with butter. Add a second sheet of phyllo on top of the first sheet. Spread with butter. (You can add more phyllo if you want.)
Sprinkle phyllo sheet with finely chopped rosemary. (A little goes a long way when you’re dealing with fresh rosemary…maybe 1/2-1 tsp.) Cut phyllo into (vertical) thirds.
Chop goat cheese. Add to (cooled) zucchini mixture. Put a generous tablespoonful of mixture at the bottom of one of the strips of phyllo. Take thebottom left hand corner of the strip and fold it upwards, to the right, over the mixture. So you have a little triangle at the bottom. Take the bottom right hand point and lift it up, straight over the mixture. So you have a triangle again. Keep folding, and alternating, until the strip is used up.
Repeat with the other strips.
Place triangles on a baking sheet. Baste the top with eggwhite or melted butter. Place the baking sheet (with the triangles) in the oven and cook for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Don’t eat them right away. You’ll burn your mouth.
Also I’m just guessing on the amounts. This kind of genius can’t be easily replicated.