Zucchini is best in a supporting role in most recipes

Zucchini is best in a supporting role in most recipes

Be warned: Besmirch zucchini’s good name in Wisconsin and be prepared to be overwhelmed with recipes to prove you wrong.

I challenged readers to change my mind that zucchini is gross and got more than 60 emails in response. Several included multiple recipes.

My zucchini rant arose after a roasting incident gone wrong. Something magical happens when roasting cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, yams, potatoes, onions and just most other vegetables. New flavors emerge. Crispy charred bits form at the edges. The flesh becomes tender. Little more is needed than olive oil, salt and heat.

Try that with zucchini and the reward is a mushy pile of blandness.

Perhaps lowered expectations are in order when it comes to zucchini.

“I think we are expecting way too much from zucchini,” wrote Lisa Schaetz of Maribel. “I like to think that its purpose in life is to have a supporting role. Like acting, you can still win an Oscar for it.”

Schaetz’s words proved prophetic of what I would discover during my ingestigative reporting.

Tomato and basil team up with zucchini to complement sweet Italian sausage flavors in a soup that now resides in my recipe box.

Zucchini wisdom

The first step was to harvest reader-submitted tips, insights and recommendations.

Go small: Several readers advised using zucchini no larger than 10 inches, with the ideal size between 5 and 8 inches. If it’s no wider than 3 inches, so much the better. 

Peel it: Stripping zucchini of its thin green membrane reduces bitterness. 

Dip it: Of course dill and ranch dip made the list. Look, ranch dressing is a powerful cure-all for improving icky flavors, but Wisconsin’s unofficial official condiment has its limits. Zucchini is one of them. That goes double if you’ve openly admitted that you don’t like this squash’s flavor.

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