Scorpacciata – zucchini
July 15th, 2010
03:30 PM ET
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Scorpacciata is a term that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it's in season. It's a good way to eat.

Zucchini, summer squash, courgette, green, yellow, round or oblong, whatever you call it, whichever shape you choose it’s delicious right now. You think squash, you think savory, but this story ends up sweet. Stay tuned for that.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of summers, my favorite season, in my father’s backyard garden. Every year, he tilled the soil and tended to the plants with great care. He planted rows and rows of tomatoes, beans and squash: a lot of squash, specifically the green zucchini.

Little did I know, at age 8, that the best kind of summer squash was the small, tender kind, harvested early from the plant. At our house, we let the squash grow to ever-larger proportions. Poking around for produce to pick, peering under the green, leafy canopy, I thrilled at the sight of a blooming zucchini.

There was always great, green squash in vast amounts filling our fridge. The squash piled up on tables and poured out the door into the hands of willing neighbors.

When dropping me off at a friend’s house, my parents would thrust a big, brown paper bag full of zucchini into the arms of the waiting parent. "Have some zucchini," they would say, "It’s from our garden."

The squash was so plentiful that my mother was constantly coming up with new ways to use it. I remember zipping in and out of the kitchen while she made loaf after loaf of zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini Bundt cake.

Zucchini is a fruit, botanically speaking, but zucchini cake, can you dig it? You don’t see that around much! It's especially true when you're living in the concrete jungle, where precious little is grown in personal gardens. But, after seeing rows of it at the Greenmarket, I was inspired to try the cake again for myself. My mother dug up the recipe. It follows below.

What do you think: savory or sweet for squash?

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

All ingredients should be at room temp. Preheat oven to 350°

2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1 cup coarsely chopped, lightly toasted walnuts
1/2 cup milk

Butter or spray a Bundt or tube pan. In small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until smooth (4 or 5 minutes).

Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, zucchini and walnuts.

Alternately stir dry ingredients and milk into zucchini mixture. Pour into pan.

Bake 1 hour or until that trusty toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack completely

Dust with confectioner’s sugar OR drizzle with chocolate glaze … it is a Bundt after all.

Glaze: Melt 8 ounces semisweet chocolate with 1/2 cup water in double boiler until well-blended and shiny.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, cool to room temperature and chill in fridge until thick enough to apply with spatula.

Got a favorite way to eat zucchini? Won't you please be so kind as to share in the comments below?

Thanks to local foodist Nina Planck for bringing the term "scorpacciata" into my lexicon. I've never met her, but I shall always be grateful.

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Filed under: Bite • Ingredients • Make • Recipes • Scorpacciata


soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. thumbliving

    Our garden also has been overflowing this year and i tried a new recipe: Relish my husband and daughter love it and I canned enough to last all winter :)

    http://thumbliving.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/zucchini-relish-and-squash-relish/

    August 3, 2010 at 11:52 am | Reply
  2. Anne

    Chocolate Zucchini brownies (yum). Zucchini pineapple bread (thank you delightful cooking guru Paula Deen)... http://www.pauladeenmagazine.com/recipe_results.php?id=149

    July 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  3. Linsey

    This made me laugh! This is the first year my husband and I have a garden and out of everything we have the zucchini is growing the best. So yesterday I made Zucchini Bread for the first time. Thanks for the recipe now I'm going to have to try it out!

    July 16, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  4. Gail Snail

    I used to make a zucchini pie. It was so good. I lost the original recipe, but the internet has more recipes than I could use in a lifetime.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:48 am | Reply
  5. Kristy

    My favorite way to eat zucchini is to cut it into spears, drizzle a small amount of olive oil on and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes @ 425 degrees.

    July 16, 2010 at 9:54 am | Reply
  6. yogiclarebear

    SWEET! http://www.food.com/recipe/chocolate-zucchini-oat-bran-415141

    July 16, 2010 at 12:00 am | Reply
  7. Susan Courtney

    corpacciata couldn't find it at dictionary.com Is this another language?

    July 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Reply
    • Sarah LeTrent

      Indeed! Scorpacciata is an Italian term.

      July 15, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  8. Shannan

    Wow Jill, your article is great!!!! I remember eating Zucchini/pineapple bread growing up it was so yummy!!!!

    July 15, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  9. Romeo

    Great article! Thank you for including the recipe – such a sweet story to talk about your childhood memories, and let us have the fun at home too :-)

    July 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Reply

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