If your zucchini has turned zealous in the garden, here’s a wonderfully different way to use the bounty: A zucchini flatbread that surprised me with how easy it was to make.
It is from Rinku Bhattacharya’s Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors ($35, Hippocrene). Rinku, a blogger and newspaper columnist in Westchester, takes a real-life approach to cooking seasonally and sustainably for a healthier and greener lifestyle.
I like her cookbook because it marries Indian flavor with American convenience. This flatbread is a perfect example – not time-consuming, pretty easy to pull off, yet full of flavor. The crispy flatbreads are excellent with a salad or cold soup supper, or with a hummus or other dip.
Zucchini, Lemon Thyme And Onion Parathas (Flatbreads)
1 large green zucchini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves (see note)
2¾ cups atta (Indian whole wheat flour; see note)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for pan-frying
1 teaspoon salt
1 red onion, very finely chopped
Cut the top off the zucchini and cut into wedges. Place in a food processor with the lemon thyme and puree until smooth. Place 2 cups of the flour in a mixing bowl and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the salt and mix well. Add in the chopped onion and mix well (the dough will be lumpy and dry). Gradually work in the pureed zucchini until you have a dough that is smooth and well-mixed. You might need to add a little water to get it to bind, but you want a dough that is a little dry since as the dough rests it becomes moister as the zucchini releases water. Let the dough rest, covered, for about 2 hours.
Work in the additional flour to make the dough pliable and relatively smooth to touch. It should be springy but not sticky. Break off 15 small, lime-size balls of the dough and roll into circles about 6 inches in diameter on a floured surface. As you begin rolling out the first circle, place a skillet over medium-high heat. It is important to have a well-heated skillet for the purpose of making Indian breads. Place one of the dough circles on the heated skillet and cook for a couple of minutes on each side; the bread should dry out and get evenly coated with little brown spots. Brush on a little oil, spreading evenly with a teaspoon. Turn the bread over and allow to puff up a little. Spread a little oil on the other side and turn over and crisp on that side. Cook till a little crisp on both sides and then remove and place on a plate. Continue cooking all the dough circles in this manner. Makes 15 individual-size flatbreads. The dough, as well as the cooked flatbreads, freezes extremely well.
Note: Atta is a coarse, high-gluten durum wheat flour of India, and can be found in ethnic markets. If you can’t find atta, you can substitute a blend of ½ white flour and ½ whole wheat flour, preferably stone-ground. I found lemon thyme potted at my garden center, but if you can’t find it, substitute whatever fresh thyme you can find and add a teaspoon or so of fine lemon zest to the zucchini puree.
Per serving: 96 calories (21 percent from fat), 2.4 g fat (0.4 g saturated, 1.4 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 3 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 2.6 g fiber, 157 mg sodium.
– “Spices & Seasons” by Rinku Bhattacharya ($35, Hippocrene).