I bought a zucchini a few months ago! I was probably just impatiently trying to get my garden to grow faster. I was surprised that for once the price of zucchini wasn’t more per pound than New York strip steaks. That always makes me do a double take. They’re charging high prices for a vegetable that grows like a weed!
Zucchini really is like a weed in the garden. It keeps growing and spreading and produces so many squashes one family alone can’t eat them all. I grew it one year and was overwhelmed by the “be fruitful and multiply” capabilities of the squash. As to why such a bountiful weed is priced at $3.49 a pound in the stores, I have no idea. I bought it on sale for much, much less.
I ran across a recipe on a blog for Zucchini Corn Casserole and was interested in a cheesy casserole. I’ve been working on versions of my creamy corn dip and have gotten addicted to it. A couple of tablespoons of warmed dip with a few chips are a great midnight snack. Zucchini with corn and cheese sounded logical.
The recipe for this casserole was not exactly what I envisioned. I wanted shredded zucchini and a sweet bell pepper instead of a green one. And I wanted whole kernel corn, not cream style. As usual, I was tweaking as I read. I could make the dish for dinner to go along with our leftover dry rubbed ribs.
I cleaned up the zucchini and scraped out the seeds. I shredded it in large shreds and set it aside. Onion was another ingredient and I chose to dice up some white onion, planning to add some green onion to the dish as well.
One more item to dice up, the bell pepper, and I was ready for a sauté. I used my large nonstick skillet and heated it with a good drizzle of olive oil. I used some basil infused olive oil my P.S. (Personal Shopper/hubby) bought in his trip to the Olive Barrel. He’s an olive oil junkie and couldn’t resist buying a bottles of both basil and Tuscan flavored olive oil. The Tuscan oil I used recently when I made Tuscan Flavored Pasta. I love the flavors of that oil.
I sautéed the onions and peppers for 2-3 minutes before adding the shredded zucchini. I kept the heat on medium high so I’d get a nice crust forming on the zucchini. Getting a little brown on the squash gives it more of a depth of flavor, I discovered when using it for hash browns.
When my zucchini was getting browned, I added the ¼ cup butter and stirred well until it was melted and removed the pan from the heat. I poured the mixture into a sprayed baking dish and let them set for about 5 minutes to cool.
In a small bowl I whisked the eggs, milk, a teaspoon of dry mustard, ¼ teaspoon of black pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt until they were well mixed. I stirred in the corn and poured the mixture over the cooled vegetables.
I added the green onions and stirred the mixture again. If I’d added the eggs while the vegetables were still warm the eggs would have scrambled too soon. Adding a cup of cheddar over the top of the dish, it was ready for the oven.
I baked the casserole for 40 minutes in my oven that I’d preheated to 350°F. The golden layer of cheese on top was begging to be sampled. I obeyed and was charmed by the flavors.
Technically, this was more like a veggie quiche or maybe even an omelet, but it worked just fine as a veggie side dish for dinner. The ingredients had made me think of a quiche as I read them so I’d added the dry mustard as I did in my egg dishes. Wise choice!
The recipe is a great way to use zucchini. It would be excellent using fresh corn off the cob, sautéing it with the vegetables in the skillet. I must remember that later this summer when zucchini and corn on the cob are both in season. I should write that on the calendar as a reminder. I think it would be excellent even for a summer breakfast.
Zucchini Corn Casserole
2 cups zucchini; seeds removed and shredded coarsely
½ cup onion; diced
sweet bell pepper; diced
drizzle of olive oil (I used a basil infused oil, unseasoned oil is also fine)
1 can whole kernel corn (or use creamed corn and omit the cream or milk)
¼ cup cream or milk (I used cream)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon dried basil (optional; or unnecessary if using an infused oil)
¼ cup green onions; chopped
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cheddar cheese; shredded
Sauté onion and pepper in a nonstick skillet heated with a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
Press zucchini between layers of paper towels to remove some of the moisture. Add zucchini to the skillet and continue to sauté and stir occasionally until zucchini begins to brown and caramelize, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.
In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk or cream, dry mustard, basil if using, and the salt and pepper. Stir in the corn and green onions and pour over the cooled vegetable mixture. Stir to coat.
Top with shredded cheese and bake for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.