I always know spring has arrived when the zucchini come. They’re stacked a mile high in grocery store produce sections, sold for a pittance at farmers’ markets. Friends and coworkers with green thumbs turn into zucchini-pushing fanatics as they try to get rid of their summer squash bounty. A quick trip to the water cooler? Just enough time to leave a bushel or two on your desk. Neighbors lay in wait for you to leave your house so they can drop them by the bagful on your front stoop. At some point every spring zucchini become the vegetable version of Amish friendship bread with fruitful farmers begging you to please, just take them!
As overwhelming as they may be — they grow so quickly it can be hard to put them all to use– we love zucchini! Here’s everything you need to know to choose (if you’re so lucky), store and cook zucchini, plus a fabulously simple recipe for Zucchini & Tomato Flatbread.
If you’re choosing zucchini, look for smooth skin free of cuts, bruises, dents or nicks. Steer clear of super-sized zucchini – more than 8-inches long – they’re more like to have thick, tough skin and a bitter taste the larger they get.
Store unwashed zucchini in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your fridge 5-7 days.
How to Cook Zucchini
You can enjoy zucchini raw, but it’s especially delicious grated and baked into zucchini bread, chopped and sauteed as a quick side dish or omelet filling, or sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick pieces, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled.
A partially baked crust cooks faster but you can also use your favorite pizza dough. Follow your dough’s instructions for assembling and baking your flatbread.
Slice zucchini and tomatoes thinly so they’ll cook thoroughly within the 15-17 minute cooking time.
Choose firmer tomatoes. Softer tomatoes will be juicier and too much juice will leave you with a soggy crust.
Not a goat cheese fan? Leave it out! This is still delicious with just the pesto and parm.
- 1 12-inch pizza crust
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- 2 medium zucchini sliced 1/8-inch thick (about 2 cups sliced)
- 3 medium Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet.
- Stir Parmigiano Reggiano, goat cheese and pesto together in a small bowl. Spread cheese-pesto mix evenly over pizza crust.
- Arrange zucchini and tomato slices on crust in concentric circles, alternating between zucchini and tomato.
- Lightly brush zucchini and tomato with olive oil. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and pepper.
- Bake 15-17 minutes, until crust browns and veggies soften. Remove from oven, slice and serve.