Zucchini, not quite ready for picking

UPDATE: In early October, the abundance of zucchini continues. Today’s Seasonal Pantry features my all-time favorite zucchini recipes. You’ll find them here:

Algerian Carrots & Zucchini

Avocado & Zucchini Sandwich

Avocado Zucchini Pizza

Hot weather is to zucchini what steroids are to baseball players, with the obvious exception that steroids are optional and intense sun is not. Even so, that’s the image that pops into my head whenever I head out into my garden and see what has happened in what seems like a few hours. Although I’ve never tested it myself, I suspect if you are willing to sit in the hot sun in front of a plant you can actually see the zucchini grow. Mine seem to go from a tad smaller than perfect–about 5 inches long, to my thinking–to scary-big overnight. Even one zucchini plant can be overwhelming, especially if you are not feeding a crowd.

But as luck–or nature’s wisdom–would have it, zucchini is about as easy to cook as it is easy to grow. If you have a favorite way to prepare zucchini, tell us about it here. And while you’re at it, what do you think is the perfect size for zucchini? Do you prefer a greater or lesser skin-to-flesh ratio?

One of my favorite ways to enjoy zucchini is to slice it lengthwise and grill it either outside over charcoal or on a stove top grill and top it with Yogurt-Tahini  Sauce. If you want to gild the lily, pour about 1/4 inch of good olive oil into a small saucepan, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of pine nuts and heat over a low flame until the pine nuts just begin to take on a bit of color. Pour the hot oil and pine nuts over the zucchini after you’ve added the sauce. YUM! Seriously, it is extraordinarily great.

If you need more inspiration, I’ve searched the Seasonal Pantry archives for favorite zucchini recipes. By the time you’ve cooked your way through all of them, you’ll likely have tamed the zucchini monster, at least until next year.

Chilled Zucchini Soup with Pesto

Spaghettini with Zucchini Strands, Wax Beans and Basil

Zucchini Salsa

Pappardelle with Green Beans, Zucchini Ribbons & Tomatoes

Risotto with Zucchini, Peppercorns & Basil

Viana’s Zucchini Risotto

Zucchini & Sausage with Oven Polenta

Grilled Tuna Salad with Zucchini, Roasted Peppers & Tomatoes

Zucchini Ribbons with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Summer Zucchini Soup
Grilled Zucchini with Moroccan Dressing
Mary’s Chocolate Mint Zucchini Cake
Mary’s Basic Zucchini Cake