Zucchini, like all squash, has its ancestry in the Americas. However, the varieties of quash typically called zucchini were developed in Italy in late 19th century, many generations after their introduction from the New World.
Zucchini (plural for zucchino) is an Italian word which is also used in North America, Australia, Germany and Scandinavia. In Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, The Netherlands and South Africa, zucchini are called the French word, courgette.
The female flower is a golden blossom on the end of each emergent zucchini. The male flower grows directly on the stem of the zucchini plant in the leaf axils (where leaf petiole meets stem), on a long stalk, and is slightly smaller than the female. Both flowers are edible, and are often used to dress a meal or to garnish the cooked fruit. Firm and fresh blossoms that are only slightly open are cooked to be eaten, with pistils removed from female flowers, and stamens removed from male flowers. The stem on the flowers can be retained as a way of giving the cook something to hold onto during cooking, rather than injuring the delicate petals, or they can be removed prior to cooking, or prior to serving.
There are a variety of recipes in which the flowers may be deep fried as fritters or tempura, stuffed, sautéed or baked as you see at The Novice Gardener and My Home Food That’ Amore.
Hopefully, someday I will get my hands on the flowers and make some dolmeh/stuffed version. But today, I am using the fruit of the plant to make kuku, what we call fritatta/omelette in Farsi.
Zucchini Kuku / Kuku’ye Kadu
1 large (380gr/13.5oz) onion diced
1 lb (3~4 medium) zucchini – quarter lengthwise and cut 1/3″/8mm slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
500gr/17.5oz tomatoes, de-seeded and cut
¾ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp tumeric
vegetable oil and 1 Tbsp butter for cooking
- Using a 10 inch, non-stick skillet (which has a lid), heat 4 Tbsp of oil on medium-heat and caramelize the diced onion (16~18 minutes). Turn off the heat. Using strainer over a bowl, drain the onion. Empty onion into a medium bowl and set the bowl with the oil aside (it will be used to fry the kuku).
- In the same skillet, heat 3 Tbsp of oil on medium-heat, add and caramelize the cut zucchini. Turn off the heat. Using the same strainer, drain the zucchini (in a different bowl). Empty the drained zucchini into the bowl with onion. Discard the oil.
- In the same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp butter (or oil) on medium-heat and add minced garlic. After 5 seconds, add cut tomatoes and cook for 3~4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, mix well and turn off the heat. Empty the tomato/garlic mixture in the bowl with onion and zucchinis. Rinse the skillet thoroughly under hot water and put it back on the stove.
- Break the eggs over the zucchini mixture and beat/mix well with a fork.
- Add the oil set aside from caramelizing onion in the skillet and heat on medium. When oil is heated well (crucial), add the egg mixture and spread evenly from center to the sides (do not stir). Lower the heat to lowest mark and put the skillet lid on. Let it cook/set slowly for 20~30 minutes depending on the stove’s heat set.
Note: Simmering oil will gather all around the kuku. Toward the end of cooking time, either by rotating the skillet manually or by scooping with a spoon, pour the standing hot oil over the top surface for a little browning.
- When the kuku is ready, turn off the heat. Scoop out the excess standing oil and discard. If the kuku does not slide, use a spatula to gently loosen kuku and slide it onto serving dish.
نوش جان / Noushe jan / Bon Appétit!
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