Starting to plan the garden (finally!) also means using up what’s in the freezer. And that contains several bags of frozen grated zucchini from last year’s bumper crop, more than I could possibly turn into zucchini pancakes without getting really tired of them.
Spreads, slowly roasted in the oven, are usually a great way to use up lots of tomatoes or bell peppers. As I was mixing up the ingredients for my Cherry Tomato Spread and the oven was preheating, I thought I could try to make a spread with those grated zucchini, and also use up half a pound of crimini that I had forgotten in the fridge, as zucchini and mushrooms are a good combination.
I was surprised the mushrooms held up so well. They came from a local mushroom farm I wrote about in my new blog column at Fig Bethlehem.
The spread is a keeper, which translates into: We will be eating less zucchini pancakes in the next few weeks.
Zucchini Mushroom Spread
Zucchini, especially when garden-fresh, contain a lot of liquid that needs to be removed, otherwise you’ll end up with a cooked rather than a roasted spread. To defrost the frozen zucchini, I placed them in the uncovered Dutch oven while the oven preheated, then squeezed out the liquid over a fine sieve.
1¾ pounds grated zucchini (about 6 cups), fresh or frozen
½ pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
3 tablespoons pesto
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon thick Balsamic vinegar (I used pomegranate Balsamic vinegar)
Freshly ground pepper
You also need:
A small cast-iron Dutch oven
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Squeeze the zucchini to remove most of the liquid. You should have about 2 cups zucchini. In a bowl mix zucchini, mushrooms, pesto and olive oil.
3. Put mixture in a Dutch oven or other cast-iron pot and cook covered in the preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring regularly and scraping down the sides to prevent it from sticking.
4. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Add Balsamico, salt and pepper to taste. Fill in an airtight container, pour a little bit of olive oil on top to seal, and refrigerate.
Makes 1 cup