When you’re browsing through an old collection of vintage recipes, it’s fun to imagine what prompted the person to clip or save a particular recipe, and to envision when or why she may have made the dish.
In my grandma Dorothy’s “Kitchen Klips” file (see what they did there, with the alliteration?), tucked into the Vegetables pocket, is a page photocopied from Gourmet magazine’s February 1984 issue. It’s the “Sugar and Spice” column [Remember that one, where readers sent questions or their own favorite recipes? That was back when food magazines were actually about home cooking, and not about pimping the celebrity chef of the second … but I digress.]
So, the “Sugar and Spice” page has three recipes: one for Chicken with Artichokes and Pistachio Nuts, one for Lost-and-Found Zucchini Casserole and one for Lemon Tarts MacCallum. [How quaint: the magazine used to dub readers’ personal recipes with their last names.] OK, so back to the recipes … I’m pretty sure the artichoke dish was a little fancy for Dorothy. And the lemon tart recipe continued on another page, so the directions are totally cut off. Which leads me to believe that it was the zucchini casserole recipe that caught Grandma’s eye.
It’s very much a dish that she would have made — in fact, she made zucchini casserole many, many times every summer when her garden was abundant. It’s so easy and unfussy that it seems out of place in Gourmet magazine. The reader’s note accompanying the recipe describes the raves she earns every time she serves it to company (its name comes from the fact that she’d lost the recipe, which originally dated to the 1950s, then found it again).
So, Lost-and-Found Zucchini Casserole … it’s a simple, one-bowl recipe for baked vegetables with a little cheddar for pop and beaten egg to hold it together. It’s even simpler if you use your food processor to do 99% of the work.
Be sure to bookmark the recipe … so, you know, you don’t lose it.
Lost-and-Found Zucchini Casserole (Baked Zucchini with Cheddar and Breadcrumbs) Recipe
4 large (but not baseball bat-sized, c'mon) zucchini
1 large green or red bell pepper
1 medium onion
3 slices white bread, crusts removed (or 1 cup fresh bread crumbs)
4 ounces sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil or Italian herb blend
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 large eggs, beaten well
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into quarters, then slice thinly into quarter-moons. Transfer zucchini to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the bread to crumbs; add to the baking dish. Process the bell pepper until finely diced; transfer to the baking dish, then process the onion in similar fashion and dump it into the dish. Switch to the coarse shredding disk in your processor, and shred the Cheddar; add to the baking dish. Add the olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper and use your hands to combine. Pour the beaten eggs over the vegetables and mix to combine. Bake uncovered for 50–60 minutes, until casserole is bubbly and browned on top. Serve hot or room temperature.