It is the season for zucchini, summer squash, and cucumber flowers. If you see them on Farmers Market and want to, but don’t know how to turn them into a beautiful and healthy dish, this recipe is for you! Note, that stuffing part can be used as a recipe for humble zucchini pancakes when the flowers are not available anymore.
This casserole is a celebration of vegetables! Look at the list of ingredients. Their variety is stunning! That’s why the complexity of this dish flavors conquers the taste buds of vegetarians and carnivores alike. Just like any other layered dish, benefits from being cooked in advance, set in a refrigerator for a few hours and reheated portioned right before serving. It helps to develop flavors and keep colorful layers presentable.
For years my tians looked similar — overlapping round slices of vegetables layered in an alternating pattern. After the successful variation of Patlican Kebabi, I wanted to try the same arrangement of vegetables for tian. And loved it!
Green chile peppers are known for their tough skin. They are usually charred to peeled it away. Seeds and membranes should also be removed. Only then peppers are ready for using them in final dishes. Unfortunately, charred peppers often loose their shape and wholeness and can’t be used for stuffing with raw ingredients. In Nuevo Tex-Mex cookbook, David Garrido and Robb Walsh mention another traditional way to prep chili peppers for stuffing — softening them in hot water for 20 minutes. Some cooks go even further by adding some piloncillo (raw cane sugar), apple cider vinegar, and salt to make a hot brine for peppers. Precooking peppers in salty and acidic water helps to preserve color, lowers heat level, and makes it easier to clean seeds and membranes.
In Hatch cooking classes, we stuffed Hatch peppers with carnitas and roasted them to serve with green Mexican rice. Stuffing them with lean Angus beef and hot smoking with hickory chips seamed the next obvious step. Delicious!
Every time I taste this delicate and elegant dessert I can’t believe it is made of ordinary zucchini. Look at the color! The younger and smaller zucchinis you use, the higher the ratio of dark green skin and the more vivid green your soufflé is. Be patient. Just like other soufflés, this one needs to be cooled very slowly. You have to give it a lot of time to set by reducing the temperature gradually and by keeping it refrigerated for a few hours before reheating and serving.