This is a recipe I have probably made about 20 times now and uses up some of that profuse harvest of zucchini that we all have this time of year.
This recipe is also good for that overly-large zucchini from your garden that you don’t want to chuck into the woods. It is taken from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures, by Jeanne Lemlin. This cookbook won the coveted James Beard Award and is one of my favorites. EVERYTHING I have cooked from this book is wonderful. Buy it!
Zucchini, Tomato, and Swiss Cheese Pie
Note: If you aren’t accustomed to using fennel seed, go out and get some. You will find that it’s that "secret ingredient" that gives your vegetable dishes that gourmet flavor.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I have also used corn meal)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly slized (I have also used yellow squash)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed (Don’t leave this out!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/4 pound grated or sliced Swiss cheese (about 1 1/3 cups) (I have also used cheddar or whatever is on hand)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I usually forget about this)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using 1/2 tablespoon of the butter, grease a pie plate, then sprinkle the bread crumbs over the bottom and sides.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté 10 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes and sauté 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high. Mix in the zucchini, fennel seed, salt and pepper. Cook until the zucchini is barely tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool 5 minutes.
3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then mix in the zucchini mixture. Pour half into the prepared pie plate, top with the Swiss cheese, then pour on the remaining vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese all over the top and dot with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of the butter.
4. Bake 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.
As I write this, a thunderstorm is thinking about heading our way. We had six drops of rain. Call me a fatalist, but I am not hopeful that it will amount to anything–again. I have already spent 1.5 hours watering today.