Spanish picnic, part 3: Zucchini cakes

August 16, 2013

Zucchini Cake

The final recipe from the Spanish picnic I enjoyed with friends a couple of weeks ago, the zucchini cake is a pretty versatile recipe that’s simultaneously at home for a chi-chi dinner party or low key enough for popping a couple in your mouth as you run out the door in the morning heading for work. It can be made in a pie plate or a muffin tin, and it makes great use of that proliferous summer vegetable, the zucchini.

For our picnic, I chose to make individual versions in a muffin tin, so I could only take with me what was needed for the day. These can be eaten warm, cold, or at room temperature, so it was a perfect food for a picnic.

Zucchini Cake
Serves 6 to 8

3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 lbs zucchini, grated
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, minced
8 ounces ricotta cheese
12 ounces Monterey jack cheese, grated
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Place the zucchini in a sieve and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes to drain the excess water from the zucchini. Place the zucchini in a cheese cloth and squeeze the excess moisture out, then set aside.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium low heat and saute the onion slowly for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and saute the zucchini for 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl and let cool. Add ricotta cheese, 2/3 of the grated cheese, eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Mix well.

If using a pie plate, butter the pie plate. If using a muffin tin, line with paper cups and spritz with oil (this made about 18 muffin-sized cakes for me, so you’ll need two tins). Pour the mixture into the pie plate or scoop into the paper cups, leaving the top 1/4 of the cup empty. Use the remaining grated cheese to top each of the cakes.

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, covering with foil if the cheese starts to get too brown (it should be a pretty golden brown when done). Check doneness by inserted a toothpick in the middle of the cake. It will be moist, but shouldn’t have too many pieces of egg and cheese sticking to the pick.

Let cool then unmold or remove cups from the tins. Serve warm, cool, or at room temperature.

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