Like Houdini, zucchini is a great illusionist. It has a very mild taste, so much so that it is almost indiscernible taste-wise when used in a dish. I would not say that it is invisible as the texture is evident, but the taste tends to disappear as zucchini picks up the other flavors from the dish.
A great example of this switcheroo is Zucchini Mock Apple Pie. (See recipe below.) With a sleight of hand the apples are replaced with zucchini and presto-chango everyone thinks they are eating apple pie.
Do not let all this hocus pocus fool you, though, into thinking that a lack of individual flavor means a lack of nutritional value. One cup of zucchini is incredibly low in calories – just 20 and offers the following health benefits.
Vitamin C – protects cells from free radicals and aids in nerve communication, helps the body metabolize cholesterol, and keeps your tissues strong. (1 cup = 25% of recommended daily intake)
Lutein & Zeaxanthin – promote healthy eyesight by filtering light rays as they enter your eyes
Manganese – protects tissues from free radicals and promotes healthy tissue development. (1 cup = 10% of recommended daily intake)
And, if you’d like to get into the magic act yourself, August 8th is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. You can use this day to make some zucchini disappear from your garden and reappear on your neighbor’s porch.
Zucchini Mock Apple Pie
- 6 -8 cups zucchini (peel, cut lengthwise, remove seeds, slice 1/4-inch thick)
- 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or 2 tablespoons flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (white and apple cider both are good)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 pie crusts
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar, for topping the crust
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cook zucchini slices in boiling water until barely tender, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from stove and drain very well and cool.Remove as much moisture as you can with paper towels.
- In a bowl, toss zucchini with sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cream of tartar, cornstarch or flour, and salt until well coated.
- Place lightly floured pastry in a 9-inch, pan.
- Fill with zucchini mixture.
- Dot with butter, drizzle with vinegar.
- Top with crust.
- Brush top crust lightly with water and sprinkle crust with sugar.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425.
- Reduce heat to 350 and bake about 45 minutes.
- Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Or serve chilled.