Last year when I was (as usual) trying to use up bushels of zucchini, I figured I'd try out a savory version. L was thrilled because it has some of his favorite ingredients and he's not a fan of the typical sweet version. This bread is chock-full of Mediterranean gems and goes great with tomatoes, another bumper crop of the summer. I recommend it aside bowl of homemade tomato soup, topped with slow-roasted tomatoes and mozzarella, or slathered with tomato jam.
One thing I would change about this recipe is to scale it up 1 1/2 times because it results in sort of a short stubby loaf. Next time I make it I will see how that goes and update this recipe with new amounts if it works out well.
Savory Zucchini Bread
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (I do this in my food processor)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, chopped (Substituting 10 cloves of roasted garlic would be delicious)
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup parmiggiano reggiano, diced into tiny bits (This way you get little salty bites now and then)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan.
Beat together the eggs, oil and vinegar. Add the zucchini, garlic, peppers, olives, tomatoes and cheese and stir to coat. Sift flour, seasonings and leavenings into the bowl and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and invert to remove from the pan. Finish cooling on a wire rack before cutting.
The trick to these tomatoes is roasting them as slowly as possible. I put them in the oven in the afternoon and take them out the next morning when I wake up. It's one of those recipes I feel guilty posting because it's barely a recipe.
10-12 Roma tomatoes or other low-moisture tomatoes, washed and split in half
salt, pepper and any other desired seasonings
Toss tomatoes with olive oil to coat. Arrange on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Season as desired.
Set your oven as low as it will go (mine bottoms out at 170 F). Stick your tomatoes in there and write yourself a little tomato love note so you don't forget about them. Roasting time will depend on your oven but will be at least 12 hours. I usually leave mine in for about 18 hours. You know they're done when they've shriveled to about half their original size but are still moist inside. These freeze very well and make an excellent pasta sauce when roughly chopped.
Cherry Tomato Jam
I've seen lots of recipes for this floating around cyberspace and finally had to try it myself. It is the perfect mix of sweet and savory and goes particularly well with salty breads such as the zucchini bread above or any other cheese flavored bread. It's also great as a topping for risotto cakes. It's not necessary to skin the tomatoes but it results in a better texture. This recipe makes about 3 pint size jars.
2.5 lbs of cherry, pear or grape tomatoes (about 3 pints)
1 1/4 cups sugar (brown or white - both work well)
5 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 3/4 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp italian seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
Bring a quart of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Slash the ends of each tomato quickly with a paring knife. Plunge the tomatoes, a pint at a time, into the boiling water for about 30 seconds (you should see the skins start to curl up at your incision), then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the ice bath. Repeat for other pints. At this point the skins should slide right off. Discard the skins and transfer the "meat" to a large saucepan. Add sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until thick and jammy.
Transfer to pint jars. This will keep for about 3 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer (use plastic containers if you plan to freeze it). It can also be canned in a boiling water canner. For this method, make sure your canning jars are sterilized and place your lids in a pan of water just below a simmer to soften the adhesive. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace before placing the lid and making the ring fingertip tight. Boil enough water to cover the jars by at least one inch, use canning tongs to place jars in the rack and process for 15 minutes (longer at higher altitudes). If you haven't canned before please don't rely on this explanation alone - visit the national food safety database or the Ball preserving website first and fully educate yourself on how to can safely.