This summer Bristol Bay has been scoring record breaking temperatures and everything from wild berries to cultivated gardens are being harvested early.
Many gardeners I know are hauling in monster zucchini in an abundance that has many seeking new flavorful ways to put these squash to use. For years my favorites have been to make Zucchini Salmon Tart, to toss them in as a bright note in salmon chowder on rainy days, pickling them, and grilling them up as a fresh side with a little olive oil, Parmesan cheese and smoked paprika.
Recently I discovered a, new to me, way to preserve some of these delicatable veggies as well as the herbs that are wildly tangling in the garden. Most notably thyme works in this recipe though I suspect oregano, rosemary, basil, and a host of others would be equally delicious. I stumbled across the Zucchini Butter recipe in the cookbook Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan, which has quickly become one of my favorite jumping off points for ideas regarding canning in small quantities
This Zucchini Butter is a wonderfully rich and savory spread on toast, stirred into pasta, for gracing the middle of an omelet, or straight on a spoon into my waiting toddler’s mouth. It keeps well in the fridge for up to two weeks and up to a year in the freezer.
Fresh Herbed Zucchini Butter
Adapted from Preserving by the Pint
Fills two 1/2 pint jars and with a little to spare!
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 large zucchini, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
Several springs of fresh thyme (or another herb of your choosing)
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
A few cracks of fresh ground pepper
Melt over medium heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet. When the oils are melded toss in the zucchini and garlic allow to cook about 20 minutes until the zucchini is softened.
Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and toss into pan. Continue to cook on medium low for another 30-45 minutes stirring frequently without allowing the zucchini to brown. This slow, low cooking will cause the zucchini to melt into a spreadable form. I like to finish off the spread by blending it with an immersion blender for an enhanced smooth texture, though this is not required. At the finish add in your salt and pepper to taste.
Keep the spread in a glass airtight container (a jar works well) in the fridge or freezer until use.