Yes, I admit it, I want to dry out in the sun (not in my garden, anymore), I want beach and seaside. But I don't want these things so much that I started to feel the smell or the sound of the sea in a bunch of zucchini .. I need a vacation, but not so badly! The scent of the sea (the Ligurian sea, to be accurate. But, given my revisions, it's the Ligurian side nearest to Piedmont) is in the stuffing of these zucchini.
In a few days I'll leave for my holidays (it's likely that the next post will be written from another place), in a few days I'll see the sea again: every year I feel nostalgic about the sea, and every year I look forward to seeing it again, excited like a child with his favourite toy. And passing the time while waiting, I comfort myself with these delicious stuffed zucchini that scent like summer and sea, and with Baudelaire's beautiful words about this blue mirror that
I love (and miss) so much.
Man And The Sea
Free man! the sea is to thee ever dear!
The sea is thy mirror, thou regardest thy soul
In its mighteous waves that unendingly roll,
And thy spirit is yet not a chasm less drear.
Thou delight'st to plunge deep in thine image down;
Thou tak'st it with eyes and with arms in embrace,
And at times thine own inward voice would'st efface
With the sound of its savage ungovernable moan.
You are both of you, sombre, secretive and deep:
Oh mortal, thy depths are foraye unexplored,
Oh sea–no one knoweth thy dazzling hoard,
You both are so jealous your secrets to keep!
And endless ages have wandered by,
Yet still without pity or mercy you fight,
So mighty in plunder and death your delight:
Oh wrestlers! so constant in enmity!
Charles Baudelaire, "Les fleurs du mal"
STUFFED ZUCCHINI LIGURIAN STYLE
(recipe from Giallo Zafferano -in Italian)
Ingredients (2 servings)
[I doubled the doses for the stuffing and, with the leftovers, I made some patties I baked in the oven: they were moist and light, really delicious!]
* 4 small round zucchini (or 4 regular zucchini)
* half stale bread roll
* extra-virgin olive oil
* a small onion, finely chopped
* 2 anchovy fillets (I didn't use them, 'cause I didn't have them at home)
* 75 g of drained tuna (I used mackerel, instead)
* 20 g pine nuts
* a tablespoon of capers
* Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
* a whole egg
* marjoram (fresh or dried one)
Wash the zucchini and boil them in salted water for about 10 minutes (they have to remain crunchy). Meanwhile, cut bread into squares and let it soak in a bowl with some milk.
Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and sauté the chopped onion, then add the anchovy fillets, roughly chopped (I didn't used them, as already said). Drain the zucchini and let them cool down and; if you use round zucchini, cut the cap and hollow them out with a teaspoon; if you use normal zucchini, cut the ends, cut them in half lengthwise and hollow them out with a teaspoon. Add the zucchini pulp to the onions and anchovies, and cook together for a few minutes.
Preheat the oven to 356°F (180° C).
Meanwhile, mince together (with a food processor) bread (squeezed), drained tuna (or mackerel), pine nuts and capers (previously desalted). Then, in a bowl, mix it together with the the pulp of zucchini sautéed with onions and anchovies, then add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, the whole egg and some marjoram. Season with salt and pepper.
Now stuff your zucchini with this mixture and place them in a greased baking sheet. Season with a drizzle of oil and bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving them.
As already mentioned, if you want to double the doses of the filling, or if you have some leftovers, you can make some patties, coat them in bread crumbs and place them in a baking pan, season them with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake them in a preheated oven (to 356° F – 180° C) for about 20 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking: it's a rather soft filling, so your patties will remain moist and tasty, really good.