The season is ending, the first real rain has fallen and so here is a recipe to celebrate the official end of the Sardinian summer, and some of the amazing people who have passed through.
Apparently Australia’s national dish (or one of them along with pavlova, though there seems to be hot dispute about who that really belongs to) the zucchini slice is something I was instantly drawn to as soon as I heard its name uttered over a lazy lunch earlier this summer with two Melbourne-ites who’d come for a cooking class.
A brilliantly Aussie, no-nonsense name that was immediately intriguing (much like the infamous Chicken Parm) I had to know more. Zucchini slice, the Aussies told me, was a bit like a quiche with no pastry, a bit like a frittata but less eggy, and also not really like either of them. It sounded like something simple, homely and satisfying, and it sounded like something my grandmother would make (it involved cheese and bacon. Many, many things my grandmother made involved cheese and bacon. And cream). Also an excellent way of using zucchini, which would have made said grandmother proud.
I have put off making it until now, but I needn’t have because it literally takes 5 minutes to throw together. It is as good as I knew it would be. I will make one a week until the zucchini end (do they ever end)
I have made it in memory of the Melbournites, and also of all the wonderful people I have met this season, who have come to cook with me, kept me company, and given me energy and enthusiasm when I was running on far too few hours’ sleep. The best thing about teaching – whether it’s cooking, English or anything else, is how much I learn in the process. Teaching cooking classes and then sharing a leisurely lunch, I have learnt other people’s stories and recipes, and there is nothing that gives me more pleasure. In return, it has been such fun showing and sharing Sardinia and some of her food to you, and I hope to see you again soon. One day, when we finally open the Agriturismo, I will invite you all for a Bloody Big Party.
The Zucchini slice is perfect for lunch, perfect for lunch boxes, perfect for picnics. It's an excellent snack, and would even work at breakfast, I'd wager. All hail the Zucchini slice.
Makes a square brownie tin full (serves about 8)
450g zucchini, grated (one big zucchini in my case)
1 cup of grated cheese of your choice (I used gran Padano)
1 cup of flour (I used farro but can use any)
2 tsp baking powder
half a finely chopped onion
3 thick rashers of bacon, diced, or a good chunk of pancetta diced. I used pancetta
a handful of chopped parsley (optional but I added it)
salt (a good pinch) and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 and line a square brownie tin with baking paper.
Grate the zucchini and then mix all of the ingredients together until a rough batter. Pour into the tin and bake for around 30-40 minutes, until brown.
Serve warm or cold.