Sweet Potato Zucchini Hash with Fried Eggs

tomatoesThis is my favorite time at the farmers’ market, because there are so many great organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs to choose from. I’m a huge fan of buying local produce at farm stands and farmers’ markets, because local food picked and sold at the peak of freshness has incredible flavors. Buying local also supports local farmers. This week at the market I purchased:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Zucchini (actually, a friend gave me some)
  • Fresh eggs
  • Chives
  • Onions
  • Thyme

These ingredients all came together this morning in a spectacularly fresh farmers’ market breakfast.

Sweet Potato Zucchini Hash with Fried Eggs

  • 2 tablespoons rendered duck fat
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, unpeeled, cut into a 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 zucchini, unpeeled, cut into a 1/4 inch dice
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 eggs, fried over easy
  • 1 heirloom tomato, diced
  • Chopped chives
  1. Heat oil in a 12″ non-stick sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and cook until transparent, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and zucchini. Spread in a single layer along the bottom of the pan.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables caramelize, about 30 minutes.
  6. Move hash to one side of the pan to keep warm. Increase heat to medium.
  7. Crack eggs into other side of the pan and cook to over easy.
  8. Mix together tomatoes and chives.
  9. Place hash on two plates. Top each portion with an egg, and then with tomato chive mixture.

Zucchini Abundance

blossomI’m starting to think my CSA is getting lazy. Every week for the last month, the box has been chock full of zucchini – and some other stuff. Zucchini seems to be every gardener’s pride. It’s also their nightmare. The stuff multiplies in ways you can barely believe whenever you grow it. I’ve always wondered why, when so many people give tons of zucchini away to their neighbors every year, they continue to grow so much of it.

Still, to me, zucchini symbolizes abundance and sharing.

No one ever says, “Nope, I am not going to share my zucchini with anyone else because then I might not have enough.”

At least, I’ve never heard anyone say such a thing. It’s because when we give zucchini away, we always know that there will be more. It comes in such abundance that we freely share, sometimes with complete strangers.

Imagine how the world would be if we were that certain in the ongoing abundance of our other resources. What if we could trustingly share with others, knowing for sure our own needs would be covered, as well. Would we then need to hoard wealth? If zucchini were currency, then there would no longer be haves and have nots. What a wonderful world that would be.

Zucchini Tips

What on earth can you do with all of that zucchini? Once you’ve shared as much as you can with friends and neighbors to the point that they hide behind closed curtains with lights off when they see you coming, most people are still stuck with more zucchini than they could possibly eat before it  goes bad.

  • Grate the zucchini and store it in one cup measurements in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. Use it throughout the year for zucchini bread, and to add to sauces, soups, and stews.
  • Zucchini is a terrific stealth vegetable. When you grate it and mix it into the foods you cook, your kids get fresh vegetables without even knowing they have them.
  • Make an Italian soup. I like to combine browned Italian sausage, chopped onions and garlic, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, zucchini and carrot chunks, and kidney beans for a quick and delicious soup. Add chopped herbs such as oregano, as well as a little salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. For a little extra zip, toss in a few dried red pepper flakes. Serve it with a grating of hard Italian cheese and some crusty bread for a full meal.
  • Low carbers can turn fresh grated zucchini into mock hash browns in lieu of potatoes. Grate and fry in olive oil or butter to brown, and then sprinkle on a little sea salt.

Zucchini Blossoms
Many people don’t realize that zucchini blossoms are edible. The plants grow with male and female flowers. The female flowers turn into zucchini, and the male blossoms pollinate them. Leave the blossoms with the thick stems, and instead choose only the thin-stemmed flowers, leaving a few behind to pollinate the plant. If you’d like to reduce your zucchini yield, you can also harvest the female blossoms. Harvest just after the blossoms have opened. Remove the pistils and gently clean the blossoms using a soft dry brush or damp paper towel. Use the delicate flowers the same day you pick them. You can stuff them with ricotta or soft goat cheese and herbs, batter them a mixture of equal parts flour and sparkling water with a little salt for flavor, and deep fry them. They impart a delicate flavor that is out of this world. Serve this light treat with a fizzy white, such as an Italian Muscato d’Asti or Prosecco.