When I was a kid my godmother had a picture up in her kitchen of a woman being attacked by zucchinis. They are flying at her from all directions and she is covering her head in panic. I was always fascinated by that picture and when I asked her why she had it, she explained that a friend had given it to her as a joke, knowing how much she hated zucchini. When I asked her why she hated zucchini so much, she said it was because it didn’t taste like anything and there were always everywhere.
At this time of year I always think back on that picture as I struggle to come up with more and more ways to use up the zucchinis which seem to breed like rabbits in my refrigerator drawer. I start to throw zucchinis into everything—bread, pancakes, pasta sauces, I even roast them into chips. Luckily, this works for just the other reason that my godmother doesn’t like them: they are bland. Zucchinis will soak up whatever flavors you put next to them, they are a sponge. And so, instead of seeing the blandness as a bad thing, I am trying to see it as an opportunity for experimentation.
This Zucchini & Eggplant Pie is the outcome of just that sort of experimentation. My friend Darci shared her favorite zucchini and corn pie recipe with me. I didn’t have corn, but did have a ton of baby eggplants, so I decided to play. I used the basic technique she shared with me, simplifying it to one pan instead of two, and decided to add spices and flavors that would compliment the eggplant—Middle Eastern spices and feta cheese.
The outcome was awesome! My 9-year-old exclaimed, “I can’t believe how good this is!” and my 7-year-old, who was incredibly skeptical since he is not a fan of zucchini, ended up eating almost his whole serving, even after filling up on bread. This dish is very simple to pull together and makes a nice summer dinner. It would also be great for a brunch or served cold for lunch. So if you are drowning in zucchini like I am, give this one a try.
And now I’m off to make zucchini bread…
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large or 3 small zucchini, thinly sliced (1/4 inch or thinner), about 4 cups
- 1 small eggplant, thinly sliced (1/4 inch or thinner), about 3 cups
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 4 oz shredded mozzarella, plus a little more for the top
- 4 oz crumbled feta
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 Tablespoon Za’atar seasoning (or ½ Tablespoon dried basil and ½ Tablespoon dried oregano)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Slice the onions, zucchini, and eggplant. In a large, deep oven-safe skillet (cast iron works well here), melt the butter over a medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and sauté until soft, about 8-10 minutes. When you put the vegetables in the pan will be very full. Don’t worry, they will shrink down as they cook.
- While the vegetables cook, mix together the spices, cheeses, egg, and flour.
- When the vegetables are ready, take the skillet off the heat and pour the egg mixture on top. Stir gently to make sure everything is covered in the mixture. Sprinkle a little extra mozzarella on top. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the lid or foil and turn the oven to high broil and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese on top is starting to bubble and brown. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.
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