Perfect for that summer zucchini haul and makes a great side, snack or brunch dish.
You know how sometimes you take a bite of something and it tastes like home? That smell or taste that instantly transports you to your grandma’s kitchen and you can feel yourself perched on a stool watching as she makes your favorite dish. Well, this is that recipe. And it’s not even my grandma’s kitchen.
I recently asked my readers to tell me about that one dish that they really wanted me to make for the blog. Sometimes it was a dish that you always wanted to make but were too intimidated to try, but more often it was a simple dish. A dish that you remembered from your youth, something cozy and satisfying that you’ve been meaning to make for years but the recipe was never quite right.
One particular request that struck a chord with me was from my childhood friend Mike. He told me about his grandmother and the zucchini bake that she always had ready fresh from the oven after he mowed her lawn. Mike wrote this about his grandma:
In 1954, Elizabeth Morello went to work at St. John’s school cafeteria. Back then, the U.S. Government subsidized the lunch program by sending bulk supplies of U.S. Government-brand butter, tomato sauce, cheese, etc. For the next 35 years, she transformed those ingredients into mouth-watering dishes. I was proud of my grandmother because everywhere we went people stopped us to say “Liz, do you remember me? I went to St. John’s in [insert year]. Lunch was amazing. My favorite dish was [insert anything she made].”
Some of Mike’s favorite memories of his grandma are connected to the kitchen and food. And it’s this kind of connection that keeps me constantly inspired to write this blog. So many of my favorite memories are (no surprise) food centric. From watching my own grandma ice her famous coconut cake, to watching my dad stir his Sunday sauce and meatballs, to my first bite of roasted rabbit in the hills of Tuscany, to nervously plating my final dish for review in culinary school…food has played an integral part in the timeline of my life, with tastes and smells carefully marking these moments.
I took a few liberties with Mike’s grandma’s zucchini bake recipe, but the essence of it is still there. I made it for my own boys while they were out doing yard work and eager for a snack after a little manual labor. I loved the idea of my friend’s family tradition finding its way into my own home.
I’d love to learn more about your food memories and family recipes and would welcome the opportunity to make, adapt or simply glean inspiration from your favorites. Feel free to share in the comments below or send me an email. I look forward to creating more food inspired memories with all of you!
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 8 eggs beaten
- 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup + 2Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- dash of red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium/large zucchini (about trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly into half-moons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 inch pan.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a small skillet set over medium heat and add add the onions and garlic. Saute 3-4 mins until softened. Set aside.
Combine the beaten eggs, 3/4 cup oil, 1 cup parmesan cheese, flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Stir in the zucchini, onion and garlic until well mixed. Scrape into the prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp grated parmesan.
Bake for 35-40 mins or until golden brown and set.
Cool slightly, cut and serve.