In which we eat nothing but zucchini

I grew a garden this year! It is beautiful and has been balm to my soul. I love the dirt under my finger nails and the tan lines on my little boys feet from mornings spent caring for our little plants. Back in May I sadly bemoaned my plight when it appeared that only one struggling zucchini plant had germinated in my garden, though I couldn’t complain since my seeds were 5 years old. And then I cheerfully reminded myself zucchini plants are always over producers, one will be just fine for my family of three. Not 24 hours later (I kid not) five eager zucchini plants popped up in their assigned hills. In the last seven days I have used 7 zucchinis (just from the first plant) and still have one in the fridge and one ready to be picked. Good thing we all love zucchini around here! Also, good thing Smitten Kitchen has recipes by vegetable, I plan to cook my way through zucchini top to bottom. Tonight we enjoyed her amazing zucchini and ricotta galette. The crust for this really is no less than amazing and (if you are comfortable with pie crust rolling) makes for a great quick supper since you can make the crust early and then roll out and top it later in the day. I also sliced my zucchini and laid it out 3 hours ahead of time (not the recommended 30 minutes) and it worked out just fine. So feel free to prep as early as you need to keep dinner time simple.

Now, I realize that if you are adding a quarter pound of butter to something, it might be hard to call it healthy and leads to a question, why try to make it healthier by adding say whole wheat? But, I only had whole wheat flour on hand this afternoon so made 100% whole wheat pie crust using SK’s recipe from the zucchini galette and it turned out Amaaazing! So, while I don’t always substitute whole wheat, and I am not sure there are significant health claims to be made, if you only have it on hand I would absolutely use it here without worrying that it will lend to a disappointing crust. . .the butter and sour cream certainly mitigate the density of the whole grain leaving a flaky and tender handle for all of your summer zucchini.

Love from CO,
Bethany

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette (Serves 6)

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat pastry flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes*
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again*
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (SK calls for lemon juice which I didn’t have on hand)
1/4 cup ice water

*I cut my butter into the flour and then stuck the whole thing in the freezer for 15 minutes and it worked out just fine.

Filling:
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella (muenster also works)
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and (here, since I hadn’t pre chilled my ingredients I stuck everything in the freezer for 15 minutes) use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas (I purposefully left visible beads of butter). In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (I refrigerated mine for 3 hours with great results).

Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes (up to 3 hours); gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella (I used muenster cause I failed at purchasing mozzarella  2 days in a row), and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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