One of the first cookbooks that I ever bought, that I still have, was Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
I was living at home, still in school, and my mother did all the cooking. I don’t remember what possessed me to buy the book but I do remember my first recipe was a cheese souffle. Fortunately, it was a success or might have given up cooking at an early age. I realized that it was best to make dishes that would compliment my mother’s cooking. Since her strong suit was steaks and roasts, I became known for my stuffed mushrooms (or rather Julia’s stuffed mushrooms) and various assorted side dishes.
One of these dishes that was inspired by Julia’s Champignon Farcis was my Stuffed Zucchini. The filling is rich enough to make these slightly indulgent and just might turn some people into vegetarians. They are not vegan: they have heavy cream and cheese. They are not gluten free: they have bread crumbs.
They are fabulous and you can prep them the day ahead and bake just before serving.
ZUCCHINI BOATS STUFFED WITH MUSHROOMS AND ZUCCHINI
SERVES: 4-6 People
YIELDS: 8 Pieces
For the stuffing:
1 medium onion, finely minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots, minced
8 oz. small mushrooms chopped, stems as well as caps
1/4 cup white bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons whipping cream
For the garnish:
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons Swiss cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Thoroughly wash the zucchini and slice each in half legthwise, so you have 8 pieces.
3. Cut a very thin slice from the bottom of each piece so they will sit flat in a baking pan.
4. Scoop out the pulp inside each piece of zucchini, being careful to leave enough so they retain their shape.
5. Using a food processor, gently pulse mushrooms and stems until they are coarsely chopped. Combine with scooped out zucchini. Set aside.
6. In a medium saute pan, saute the onions in butter and oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the shallots, chopped mushrooms and zucchini. Combie until thoroughly mixed. Mixture shoud not be wet. If there is a lot of liquid from mushrooms, cook until it is reduced, so no liquid is visible.
7. Remove pan from heat and add the bread crumbs, Swiss cheese and Parmesan cheese.
8. Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. Add the heavy cream slowly so that mixture holds its shape. You don’t want the filling too wet.
9. Stuff each zucchini half with the filling. Drizzle with melted butter, top with grated cheese and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
10. Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini halves are tender.