Do you love stuffing as much as I do? In turkeys, chickens, potatoes, pork chops, apples, mushrooms. In anything. Any kind of stuffing. And my stuffed zucchini? This is one recipe that goes on my Thanksgiving table every year.
My kids each have their favorite holiday vegetable so we always end up with lots of veggies on the table. They insist upon my brussel sprout dish and someone asked for corn pudding this year. Did you see Heidi at 101 Cookbooks stuffed an acorn squash with it? So I might steal her idea and fill some acorn squash with my own corn pudding recipe. Along with the stuffed zucchini, my table -hopefully- will bring a smile to everyone's face! Of course a sweet potato pie and mashed potatoes are absolute necessities!
And the stuffed zucchini is vegetarian if that makes a difference to you. It's a Make It Now, Bake It Later kind of dish. (In case you're wondering what I'm talking about-The Make It Now Bake It Later series was comprised of six paperback cookbooks. You can now get them under one cover; order them used on Amazon- they are real time savers and some really good recipes are to be found there. I still use a lot of them.)
Anyway- you can get the zucchini all ready to go, refrigerate and then bake them at the last minute. Or they can sit out on the counter waiting if your fridge is too jammed with goodies. The flavor of hazelnuts and shiitake mushrooms together is sheer heaven. Stuff away- you'll get kudos.
6 zucchini, medium sized, scrubbed and trimmed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, diced
1 cup hazelnuts, skinned, toasted and ground *
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup bread crumbs**
1 cup monterey jack cheese, grated
Halve the zucchini and scoop out pulp, leaving 1/2 inch shells.
Chop pulp. Cook garlic, mushrooms and hazelnuts for 4 minutes. Add zucchini pulp and oregano. Cook 7 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and stir in bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste.
Place in shells and top with monterey jack cheese.
Bake in a 375° oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
* Skinning hazelnuts: the traditional way involves roasting them in a 350° oven for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan once in a while. Then you dump the hot hazelnuts in a dish towel, grab the corners to bundle it up and vigorously rub the hazelnuts together. It takes a while, but most of the skins come off. Sort of.
The other method is the one I use most often. Boil the hazelnuts in a quart of water with 4 tablespoons of baking soda for 4-5 minutes. Rinse them in a colander under cold water. Some of the skins will come off right then. Others will require you to rub them a little to slip them off. But at least the entire skin comes off. Then dump them in a single layer and bake them in a 350° oven for 10-20 minutes- depending on how much water they absorbed. I use this method when I don't want any skins at all on my hazelnuts.
** Fresh bread crumbs are so much better than packaged. Remove crusts off several slices of day old bread and place in your food processor. Pulse until you get crumbs.