Thursday, February 12, 2009

Zucchini Custard Bake

I love zucchini, I could eat it every night. I love finding new ways to include it in a meal. I served it with Italian Sweet sausage and leftover baked spaghetti. It was so good that Ethan was leaving the spaghetti alone and asking for more zucchini. This would make a nice breakfast side, too - perhaps with pancakes or waffles. I mixed all the Parmesan into the egg mixture rather than sprinkling it over the top as the recipe calls for.
This is another recipe from Paula Deen's "The Lady & Sons" cookbook.

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 pounds zucchini, cut into small pieces (see Cook's Note)
3 eggs
1/2 cup undiluted evaporated milk or light cream
2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon instant minced onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of liquid hot pepper sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine melted butter and zucchini. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender (5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
Beat eggs (see Cook's Note) with milk; add bread crumbs, onion, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Mix well. Combine mixture with zucchini, stirring until blended. Turn into a buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes. If the dish has been refrigerated, allow about 10 minutes longer baking time.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cook's Notes:
I prefer to cut zucchini into a large dice. My child is more receptive to it in that shape than the traditional moons and half-moon slices. I also find it easier to cook, I can tumble it around in the pan, eliminating the need to turning pieces over to cook the other side and the pieces don't stick together the way slices often do.
Smoothly Combined Eggs:
If you beat the eggs first with nothing else in the bowl and get them nice and smooth, they won't separate on you after you add the other ingredients - this is because the fat in the yolk emulsifies with the liquid in the white- I always beat up the eggs on their own before adding additional ingredients. Even recipes like breakfast casseroles which require an overnight rest in the refrigerator before baking don't separate if you will beat those eggs on their own in the bowl first. I don't know why cooking shows don't share this tip! I had to figure it out for myself.


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