08 August 2014

Did you hear that it's National Zucchini Day?  If you have a garden, I bet you are still thinking up different ways to use your zucchini.  Zucchini bread is the first thing that comes to many people's minds, but have you noticed that it's always a sweet bread?  Zucchini is a vegetable, which is why I find it funny that you rarely hear anyone talk about a savory zucchini bread.  Well, you will today!  This is a recipe I discovered last summer.  A savory zucchini bread studded with cheddar cheese.  It's adapted from No Recipes.

Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Olive oil and flour for coating the pan
12 oz. zucchini, about 1½ medium
1 tsp salt
1½ cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 large eggs
⅓ cup olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp dried dill
1¼ cups cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread a thin layer of olive oil evenly onto every inner surface of a standard 9"x5" loaf pan. Dust with flour to coat evenly, making sure to not miss any spots.

Remove the ends of the zucchini, then shred it into a colander using the large side of a box grater. Add the salt and toss to distribute evenly. Leave the colander in the sink or over a bowl and allow the excess water to drain from the zucchini for at least 15 minutes. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and paprika together.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, olive oil, and water together until the mixture has emulsified and it's light and frothy. Add the drained zucchini and dill in with the egg mixture and stir to combine. Dump the egg mixture into the flour mixture and use a spatula to fold everything together until the mixture is just combined. Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Be careful not to over-mix the batter or the bread will become tough.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top.  Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of cheese on top.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf.

 Isn't it beautiful?  The smoked paprika not only gives it great flavor, but it lends beautiful color as well.  

I suggest using  medium zucchini for this bread, and definitely don't peel it.  You want those gorgeous flecks of green running through the bread.  I don't recommend large zucchini because, first of all, you have to remove the large seeds, and second of all, the green-to-white ratio is lower with a large zucchini.  I would also suggest using the thicker-cut shredded cheddar instead of the fine cut.  That way you can see the flecks of orange in it too.

Dill is my favorite herb to pair with zucchini, but thyme would be good too if you prefer it.

I took this bread a party last weekend and it was a big hit.  It's not your run-of-the-mill zucchini bread.  I am not much of a baker, but it comes out perfectly every time.  It's good with a smear of butter, of course, but it definitely doesn't need it.  It's great all by itself.

So if you have plans to make zucchini bread this weekend, think savory!

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