It seems every year I am forced to wait patiently for weeks for that very first mature zucchini to appear in my garden. I check the zucchini patch daily, but then after that first one is picked, they seem to come in fast and furious. From the point we have harvested that first zucchini, it is usually just a few weeks later I find myself groaning when my husband appears in my kitchen with yet another basket full of zucchini. This year I used my zucchini in muffins, quick loaves, pasta sauces, in egg dishes, and in a myriad of side dishes. I created this particular recipe when I had an abundance of both zucchini and eggs. I now have six hens and five of them are now laying eggs almost on a daily basis. If I do not keep on top of them, my refrigerator overflows with eggs and zucchini!
I didn’t want to make yet another basic quiche or frittata because although we love them, we have eaten a LOT of them this summer. In this recipe, I wanted to feature the zucchini rather than the eggs, so I thinly sliced them and folded them in a batter. I made the batter of ricotta cheese, grated Pecorino Romano, and a few eggs to hold the zucchini together in a pie of sorts. I also didn’t want to have to bother with a crust, so I simply oiled my casserole dish and sprinkled breadcrumbs over the sides and bottom. I have herbs growing all over our property here in Umbria and love to use them in my cooking, so I chose some fresh thyme and parsley to highlight the zucchini in this recipe.
We enjoyed this dish for lunch along with a mixed salad, but it would be a great breakfast or brunch dish as well. It could also be an option for a vegetarian entree at dinner served with whole grain crusty bread and a big vegetable salad. I prefer a dish like this served at room temperature, so the flavors stand out, but it was also tasty the next day cold from the refrigerator for breakfast. Feel free to use whatever fresh herbs you prefer, change the grated cheese if you like, and maybe combine some summer squash with the zucchini. This dish works best if the zucchini are sliced very thin, and a mandolin works well for this.
Deborah Mele 2015
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 (8 Ounce) Container Ricotta Cheese
- 1 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cups Milk
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme
- 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves
- 2 Pounds Small zucchini, Thinly Sliced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees> F.
- Rub the oil over a 9-inch quiche pan, then pour in the breadcrumbs.
- Twist the pan around to cover the sides and bottom with the crumbs.
- In a large bowl, beat together the ricotta cheese, half the pecorino, eggs, and milk until smooth with a whisk.
- Season the mixture well with salt and pepper, and stir in the red pepper flakes, thyme, and parsley.
- Add the zucchini and gently stir to coat the zucchini with the egg mixture.
- Spoon the zucchini and egg mixture into the prepared pan, then sprinkle with the rest of the grated pecorino cheese.
- Bake the zucchini until puffed, browned, and set, about 50 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature and serve.