“ginisang gulay” a.k.a “pinakbet tagalog”, “abraw” or “inabraw”, “laing” and even “chop suey”, among those already posted here, and to continue the surprising saga of the now popular “beef with broccoli” recipe, I heeded to our group’s request that I cook zucchini. So when we went shopping for our weekly food provisions over the weekend, a medium-sized pretty zucchini is among the new food items that we acquired. We are hoping to transform it into a delectable veggie dish for our Sunday dinner.
Like broccoli, zucchini is a European vegetable now widely available in the fresh harvest section of most Philippine supermarkets. As some of us know, it is now successfully being cultivated and produced in the cool regions on the Philippines like the environs of Baguio City in Benguet and probably Tagaytay City in Cavite. It is a fine–looking and intriguing produce which is akin to a cross breed of the local gourd or “upo” and squash or “kalabasa”. While its skin’s usual deep green color with tiny white spots (there is a golden variety colored yellow or orange) resembles that of the skin of a young squash, its flesh is pretty much like that of a gourd, soft and whitey.
Zucchini as commonly called in North America, Italy, Germany, Australia and the Philippines or courgette as known in the United Kingdom, Greece, New Zealand, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and South Africa, is a popularly cultivated summer squash that can grow big (up to one meter in length) but harvested while still immature at just half the size. While botanically, zucchini is a fruit, being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower, it is considered a vegetable in the culinary context. Meaning, it is usually cooked and served as a savory dish or accompaniment rather than consumed raw or fresh.
The zucchini has a delicate and subtle flavor and requires little more than quick cooking with butter or olive oil. Quick cooking allows the vegetable to partially boil and steam, with the juices concentrated in the final moments of sautéing when the own rendered liquid is reducing. In such preparation, the skin is usually left in place which provides the crunch in the final dish.