Friday, July 22, 2011

Lemony Zucchini & Spaetzle with Bread Crumb Topping

This time of year in Champaign-Urbana, the zucchini are so prolific that the farmers practically part with their harvest for free. You'd think I'd tire of all of the zucchini, but I don't. For this dish, I used spaetzle, a German egg noodle or dumpling. It's not a noodle for the impatient, it takes eons to cook (I may be exaggerating slightly). This recipe is slightly modified from Moosewood Restaurant's Cooking for Health:


Lemony Zucchini with Spaetzle & Bread Crumb Topping
  • 3-4 servings spaetzle (to be prepared as written on package)
  • For the bread crumb topping:
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs butter
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 C bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • oregano, Italian seasoning, or herbs de Provence to taste
  • For the lemony zucchini:
  • 2 med zucchini, sliced (I prefer mine sliced thin)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt (I used smoked salt, which I recommend, if you've got it)
  • pepper
  • oregano, Italians seasoning, or herbs de Provence
1. For the bread crumb topping: melt 1/2 Tbs butter and 1/2 Tbs olive oil in the skillet. Begin to boil the water for the spaetzle.
2. Over medium heat, add the garlic, bread crumbs, salt and herbs. Stir constantly until well-coated and lightly browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.
3. If the water is boiling, add the spaetzle. Follow the instructions on the package. Check occasionally while preparing zucchini (Note: If you've never made spaetzle before, you'll have to frequently taste for doneness. It looks cooked long before it actually is)
4. Using the same skillet as the bread crumbs, heat the Tbs of olive oil. Add the garlic and zucchini. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add the herbs, salt and pepper. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and zest and stir. Remove from skillet.
5. Drain the spaetzle when done. In the same skillet as the zucchini and bread crumbs, stir the spaetzle for a few minutes over medium heat, adding more oil if needed. This will help scoop up all the delightful garlicky lemon goodness remaining in the pan.
6. Serve by putting zucchini over spaetzle and sprinkling bread crumbs on top. Add additional salt, pepper and herbs as desired.
                                            Be patient, be patient. They aren't done yet.

                                 Learn from my mistakes. Don't overcrowd the pan. Just don't.

Verdict? I love this dish, and I've made it several times before. Lemon & zucchini work beautifully together, and this meal has a nice, simple comfort food aspect to it. This dish shines with the fresh zucchini available now. I think this meal would become a bland, overcooked mess with frozen zukes or out of season veggies. I cut the zucchini too thickly, but that's my error and not a flaw in Moosewood's recipe. 


  1. Looks inviting - I love dishes w/lemon! I'll have to shop for the ingredients & give it a whirl. I've never made spaetzle, but it sure sounds delish!

  2. I'll be curious to hear what you think if you make spaetzle. It's got a fun, pleasantly chewy texture. Enjoy!