Saturday, April 19, 2008

Zucchini Boats

A.k.a. Stuffed Zucchini.
These were great; egg-free, gluten-free, vegetarian side dish. (even oil free and dairy-free, if you wish) By squeezing most of the water out of the cooked zucchini pulp, and baking the empty shells beforehand, I managed to keep these from getting soggy. Cooked on the inside and crispy on the outside; bursting with garlic, Parmesan, parsley and tomato.

Makes 8 'boats'; enough to feed 2-3 people
10 + 15 + 30 minutes (about an hour total)
-large pot and mesh sieve for steaming vegetables
-medium mixing bowl
-Aluminum foil lined cookie sheet

4 thick, large zucchini
1/2 medium white onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium tomato, peeled
handful of fresh parsley
[1 egg, slightly beaten; optional]
[1 Tbsp. olive oil; optional]
3/4 to 1 cup finely crushed Original Baked Lay's potato crisps
1/4 Parmesan cheese-- or non dairy-alternative (Galaxy Nutritional Foods has some good ones)
dash of black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
dash of dried thyme leaves

0. Steam whole zucchini over boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft enough to 'give' slightly when pressed (not mushy). I use a metal sieve large enough in diameter to 'sit' over the top of my pot, then covered with a lid. You might have to steam them 2 at a time.
Cool before handling. (I chilled mine overnight.)
Filling and Baking
-Preheat oven to 350 F
1. Once zucchini is cool enough to touch, cut off both ends and scoop out the inner zucchini 'meat' with a small spoon, leaving a firm shell (don't make shells too thin). Squeeze the pulp to remove excess water. Discard the water, but place the zucchini meat in a medium bowl. Don't expect lots of zucchini innards.. I barely had 2 Tbsp. total.
2. While oven is warming up, line a cookie pan with Aluminum foil. Arrange empty shells on the pan and place into the preheating oven. Let them cook for around 15 minutes. They should be dry when you pull them out.
3. Peel and dice the white onion. You need the onion pieces small. Also, remove ends, peel and mince the garlic cloves into very small pieces. Remove the tomato skin with a paring knife, then dice up the tomato, but don't turn it into mush. Wash and chop up the fresh parsley.
4. Using your hands, mix the onion, garlic, tomato and parsley in with the zucchini pulp. [If you want eggs in this, you may add in one slightly beaten large egg to the bowl at this time. Likewise, if you want to add in the oil, do so now. I didn't use either egg or oil and it tasted fine and held together okay.]
5. Crush the last 1/4th of an open bag of Baked Lay's original potato crisps until the chips are reduced to small pieces (use a hammer if you wish). Toss the chip pieces in with the veggies, adding more if the mixture still seem too moist. Add in the Parmesan cheese, oregano leaves, thyme leaves and black pepper (DON'T add in extra salt.. the chips are salty enough!). Mix evenly.
6. Fill slightly-cooked shells with mixture-- really be generous, it at first looked like I had too much filling! Top with another dusting of Parmesan cheese.
7. Bake zucchini boats in the oven for 30 minutes, uncovered. The tops should be toasted and crispy once removed; the boats should be cooked all the way through, but not mush.
Eat warm as a side dish, or serve as the main dish with enough fresh steamed white rice.


Me said...

everytime i visit your blog (and consequently, get very hungry and envious) i remember the time i missed you bringing lemon square to the SD lab! argh!!

smash. said...

No lemon squares! That is horrible. They sell dry ice at the nearby grocery store... next time I make a batch, maybe I can send you some.
Are you back in the states yet?