This is a recipe I have been looking forward to writing about. My mum first made up this recipe to deal with over-sized zucchinis. Alas, with lots of apartment-living, access to super-sized zucchinis is minimal. Until now. One of DH’s work colleges forgot to pick his in time and voila! I’m also indebted to my lovely aunt who grew the basil in her garden. Fresh produce rocks.
1/2 kg beef mince (or substitute)
1 super-large zucchini
grated goats cheese or hummus (for dairy-free version)
1 dessert spoon rice flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
pinch of tarragon
pinch chilli flakes
lots of olive oil
fresh basil ( or other fresh garnish – coriander would work)
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and hollow out the centre leaving less than 1cm around the edge. Place shells in a baking dish / whatever fits and has an edge. Place these in a moderately hot oven and cook until starts to look slightly brown around the edges.
Put zucchini-centre contents in a saucepan with beef and lots oil and cook on medium heat. (The zucchini and beef will absorb the oil, so use enough to stop it sticking to the saucepan.) Add pepper, nutmeg, tarragon, turmeric, paprika and flour. You can wait till the meat is browned if you want – I didn’t bother, but it did mean I had to be careful to check the meat was cooked rather than just turmeric-stained. Cook until meat is done, then turn off the heat.
Wait until the zucchini in the oven is cooked through, remove it from the oven and scoop beef contents into the hollowed out centre.
Now it’s time to sprinkle with goats cheese or hummus, and bake until cheese is melted ( or until hummus is slightly hardened). You don’t even have to use a topping – my son, C, prefers it without cheese.
Serve by slicing large pieces of zucchini and lifting them out with a large spatula or spoon. Then sprinkle with fresh basil. My DH also adds more chilli flakes for a stronger bite.
This dish should serve 2 adults and 2 small kids. You might even be lucky enough to have left-overs.