It’s that time of year when zucchini is abundant in gardens, the produce section of the grocery store, and at farmers’ markets. There’s often so much of it coming in at once that gardeners don’t quite know what to do with it. One old joke says that mid to late August is the only time when residents of many small towns in New England feel the need to lock their car doors -- the reason being that if they don’t, well-intentioned neighbors will deposit bags of surplus zucchini squash on the seat.
Now, zucchini has a relatively short shelf life, even when refrigerated, so I recommend using it as soon as possible. If you end up with more than you need, and it’s starting to go bad, here’s a quick way to store them for future use:
Wash them, cut off the ends and any damaged parts (don’t peel them), and then puree them to a liquid pulp in a blender. Freeze the zucchini puree in approximately 1-2 cup portions in ziplock bags, labeled and dated. The puree can be thawed at any time and used, among other things as a thickener for sauces – your family will not even realize it’s there -- and as a less calorifying substitute for oil to lend moisture to cakes, brownies,muffins and the like.
But there are, of course, many very nice recipes that call for zucchini, some of them wonderfully simple and fast, like the one here.
I think the only adaptation I've made is to reduce the amount of oil called for in the original. Mama used so much that you had to pour it off before adding the eggs and finishing the recipe. I measure out less, so that step is not necessary.
This is also one of the rare times I do not recommend making more than you need for one meal. That’s my own personal preference, because I am not fond of leftover eggs, other than hard-boiled. But you may feel differently. In that case, then by all means make enough for leftovers.
The total cost of the recipe for four servings is less than $4, particularly if you are lucky enough to have access to zucchini from your own or a neighbor's garden. Served with sweet potato or regular potato oven fries and salad, the cost for the meal comes to about $6. So about $1.50 per serving.
This meal can be ready in as little as 20 minutes if you don’t make the fries and just serve it with whole grain bread, but with the fries, 60 minutes is a more realistic time frame.
Here's the recipe:
Mediterranean Zucchini and Eggs with Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Servings - 4- variable (see recipe)
Prep time - Approximately 20 minutes
Start to finish meal time with fries - Approximately 60 minutes
Start to finish time without fries - Approximately 30 minutes
Per person recipe cost - Approximately $1.00
Total per person meal cost with tossed salad and fresh bread - Approximately $1.50
Ingredients for the Meal:
Mediterranean Zucchini and Eggs
Sweet Potato or Regular Potato Oven Fries
Tossed Green Salad
Whole Grain Bread (optional, or instead of the fries)
Ingredients for the Recipe:
1 small-medium zucchini per person or 1 large one for 2 people
2-3 eggs per person
1-3 large sweet potatoes or regular potatoes
2-3 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 teaspoon oregano (or to taste – or substitute any herb seasoning of your choice)
Recipe continues after photos
- Set the oven to 400°F bake.
- Wash and scrub or peel the 1-3 sweet potatoes. Remove any damaged parts.
- Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and lay the flat side down on the cutting board. Slice each half into thin strips.
- Lay the strips on their sides and cut them lengthwise to make thinner strips.
- Measure 2-4 tablespoons of oil into a mixing bowl. Add the cut up sweet potatoes and shake a little salt and pepper over them. Gently toss them to distribute the seasoning and coat them with the oil.
- Spread the fries in a single layer on a cookie sheet or shallow baking dish.
- Place them in the pre-heated oven, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees, and set the timer for 25 minutes. At that time you will turn the fries and then continue to cook them for an additional 20 minutes or so, or until they are tender and done to your taste.
- Meanwhile, wash 1 small zucchini per person (or 1 large one for every 2 people) and cut off the ends. Be aware that the zucchini will shrink considerably with cooking. Slice the zucchini crosswise into thin slices or however you would like. Half moons or triangles work fine, too.
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add about 1-3 tablespoons of oil, depending on how much zucchini you are cooking.
- When the oil is hot, add the zucchini, stirring it gently to distribute it.
- Cover and cook the zucchini for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender, and even a bit browned. Stir and turn the squash often.
- Meanwhile, break the 2-3 eggs per person into a bowl. Use a whisk or fork to beat them well so that they are fully scrambled.
- Pour the eggs over the zucchini in the pan and gently distribute them with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of oregano or other herbs over the zuke/egg mixture, and salt and pepper to your taste.
- Cook the eggs, stirring them frequently, until they are moist, but not runny in consistency. Remove the pan from the heat and keep covered until ready to serve.
- Serve the zucchini and eggs with a side of the fries and a tossed green salad. Or you can serve them with a good whole grain bread instead of or in addition to the fries.