Fresh Zucchini & Corn
I love versatile recipes. Ones that can be used throughout the year – that are appropriate for gray, rainy days as well as warmer, sunny ones. For the past weeks, until just a few days ago, it’s been grim here in Seattle. Endlessly wet. What seemed like a record-breaking number of back-to-back rain-filled days. A warm, soothing casserole seemed in order, so I whipped up some Zucchini, Corn & Black Bean Enchiladas. And I was all ready to write about them this weekend when, lo and behold, the sun returned. Spring has arrived – just in time for summer. No complaints here – but it feels improper to be writing about steaming casseroles today. So I am thrilled that the recipe I was intending on sharing is so adaptable.
Zucchini and corn are coming into their prime. Though Seattlites really need to wait until July for the locally grown variety, both are becoming more abundant, and affordable, at the grocery store. And I always equate my first taste of sweet, fresh corn with the true beginning of summer. It’s tough to beat right off the cob, but I love incorporating it into salads and other dishes. And this recipe is no exception. The sweet, crisp burst of the kernels serve as a perfect complement to the soft, savory mouthful of the zucchini and black beans. This is a recipe in which I would have to insist that fresh corn is used – frozen just won’t cut it I’m afraid.
Back to the versatility aspect. As I mentioned, the main filling can be used in a delicious casserole or individual enchiladas. But on days like today, when it seems a shame to turn on the oven, scooping the mixture into slightly warmed corn tortillas is an excellent alternative. Top it with a dusting of queso fresco, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime and you’ve got an amazingly tasty, and healthy, summertime soft taco.
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Zucchini, Corn & Black Bean Filling
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 medium zucchini, diced into small cubes
- 2 large ears of corn
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1 small can diced green chilies
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and continue to cook for about 3 minutes – until soft. Add zucchini and sauté with onion and garlic for another 3-4 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, garlic salt and crushed red pepper. Continue to cook over low heat for approximately 5 minutes.
Add the black beans and diced green chilies and mix thoroughly.
Husk the corn and remove all the kernels by cutting down the sides of the cobs. Add the kernels to the zucchini and black bean mixture. Turn off heat and fold in the chopped cilantro and lime zest and juice. If there is a lot of liquid, continue to cook on low heat for about 5 minutes – allowing most of the liquid to evaporate.
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You can easily an enchilada casserole by using the Zucchini, Corn & Black Bean mixture above and following a few simple steps:
- Zucchini, Corn & Black Bean mixture
- 1 19-ounce can enchilada sauce
- 10 medium corn tortillas
- Vegetable oil spray
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray the bottom of a 9×13 glass casserole pan with cooking spray. Spoon in about 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce and coat the bottom of the pan. Layer two whole tortillas and cut an additional tortilla and fit it in so the bottom of the pan is covered. Spoon 1/2 the Zucchini, Corn & Black Bean mixture over the tortillas. Drizzle another 1/2 cup of sauce over the top. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the cheese. Layer another two whole tortillas and cut an additional tortilla to fit in. Spoon over the remaining Mixture. Cover with remaining tortillas and pour remaining sauce over to cover well. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until bubbling slightly.
Top with sour cream and fresh cilantro (if using).