Zucchini is a popular variety of summer squash that is known for its versatility and easy cultivation. In addition, zucchini is rich in the nutrient department providing a wide array of vitamins such as the B vitamins and vitamin C, and important minerals like zinc and manganese.
History of Zucchini
From evidence found in Mexican caves, it is believed that zucchini was first cultivated by Central American natives about 10,000 years ago. The cultivation of zucchini then spread to North America and South America. The further spread of zucchini and other summer squash seed was accomplished by Columbus and other Spanish and Portuguese explorers, who brought the valuable seeds back to their home countries and took them with them on their travels abroad. Today, the largest producers of zucchini are the United States, China, and India.
The edible skin of the zucchini ranges in color from yellow to various shades of green to nearly black and can be speckled or striped.
Whether it is baked, steamed, fried, or eaten raw, zucchini is widely used in a culinary capacity as a stand-alone side dish, as an ingredient in casseroles, or it can even be grated and used to make sweet bread.
Here is my favorite casserole using zucchini. This recipe is not only very easy requiring only a few ingredients, but it is a rich, creamy crowd-pleaser that is always a hit.
1 can store-bought crescent rolls
½ pound gruyere cheese ( alternatively Swiss cheese can be substituted)
2 to 3 medium zucchini, sliced in rings or diced
½ medium onion, diced
1 egg, beaten
Bread or cracker crumbs
1 to 2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a wok or frying pan, sauté diced onion and zucchini together in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until soft – about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Open can of crescent rolls and press into lightly greased casserole dish making sure the perforations are pressed out. Spread dough all along the bottom and side of casserole dish. Take zucchini and onion off of heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Grate cheese and mix with beaten egg. Add to zucchini and onions. Pour into casserole dish. Mix bread or cracker crumbs with a little oil and sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake for about 30 minutes.