As anyone who has a CSA knows, northeast Ohio is awash in zucchini (and other summer squash) during the last half of summer. We’ve made many good recipes with it in the past including Emeril’s Curried Zucchini Soup and Chlotide Dusoulier’s Chocolate and Zucchini Cake (as cupcakes, with 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour). This recipe, though, strikes me as the most versatile and least likely to grow old with repeated preparations.

I “grated” the zucchini with a vegetable peeler, which makes for larger pieces. As they soften in cooking, they taste almost like a soft, creamy cheese.

The filling was so good that I used the leftovers in a frittata (see below).

Zucchini, Corn, Black-Bean and Jack-Cheese Quesadillas
(adapted from Food and Wine magazine)

1 small zucchini or yellow squash, grated and drained on paper towels (about 1 cup)
1 cup defrosted frozen (or good canned) corn, drained on paper towels
1 small onion, chopped
2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
one 15-ounce can black beans
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
12 oz. Monterey jack, grated
8 large (burrito-size) flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)
2 tablespoons cooking oil

  1. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, corn, onion, jalapeños, beans, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss gently to distribute the seasonings and then stir in the cheese.
  2. Heat the oven to 200°. Set the tortillas on a work surface. Put about 2/3 cup of the filling on one tortilla, then top with another tortilla.
  3. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add one quesadilla to the pan and cook, turning once, until the cheese melts, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and keep warm on a baking sheet in the oven. Repeat in batches with the remaining oil and quesadillas. Cut the quesadillas in wedges and serve.

Serves four generously.

Zucchini Frittata

Double filling recipe above, but only add cheese to half.

Sauté the remaining filling in a couple tablespoons of oil for just a minute or two, until slightly softened. Add four eggs beaten with some milk and a little salt, cook until almost set, then top with cheese (optional). Finish the frittata under a hot broiler. Serves four.

This works fine as a breakfast, lunch or dinner dish.

(Image courtesy of Acumen Fund Blog)