Monday, August 6, 2012

Caprese Zucchini Boats

So I started a little container garden on our deck.  My friend Beth shared with me her excess plants that didn't fit in her container garden.  I planted two tomatoes, two zucchini and two cucumbers in the Earthbox Madaline and Ernie gave Dave and I at Easter and hoped for the best.  Almost immediately both cucumbers and one of the zucchinis died.  But then something awesome happened.  My tomato plants grew and the remaining zucchini went berserk!  It got so big it fell off the edge of the box and Dave and I staked it up, just like the tomato plants.  And the zucchini just started growing and growing.  So, by way of sharing my bounty with you, I'm treating you to a week's worth of zucchini recipes, because if you don't have your own exploding plant in your back yard, you've got friends who do and keep giving the extras to you or your enamored by the pretty green squash at the farmer's market but just don't know what to do with them.  Five recipes, five delicious ways to enjoy this tasty veggie in both savory and sweet preparation, starting with this summery side dish loaded with Caprese salad flavors.  I love the tender squash, seasoned just right, under the wonderful tomato, basil & mozzarella stuffing, warmed from the oven (or in my case, the toaster oven).  A couple of these would make a great light supper eaten together, or split them up as a side to grilled chicken or beef.

I pinned this recipe earlier this summer, knowing/hoping for a big zucchini harvest.  Proud Italian Cook gave the overall concept of the recipe, but I jotted down my measurements and steps to share with you.  I used Roma tomatoes rather than cherry and fresh mozzarella, but I didn't load on the cheese since I wanted something a bit lighter.  You could certainly pile on the cheese and be very happy, though.  Adjust the quantities for as many people as you need to serve, or make extra--they reheat wonderfully for the next day.  These zucchini boats are light, fresh and lovely--and even better when you pluck some of the ingredients from your own back yard.

Caprese Zucchini Boats


1 zucchini

1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 Roma tomato
1 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese, crumbled or cut into small chunks
2-3 fresh basil leaves

Wash and dry zucchini.  Cut off ends and slice in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and place on baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil and garlic.  Brush evenly over the zucchini flesh.  Season with salt and pepper.

Slice tomato into rounds and arrange on top of the zucchini, cutting rounds in half to fit if necessary.

Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese in between the tomato slices.

Bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.  Cut basil into ribbons and sprinkle on top.  Serve immediately.

Makes 2 zucchini boats.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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