Friday, September 7, 2012

Cornmeal Crusted Zucchini and Tomato Tower

Soon after planting my garden this year, I realized I made a mistake.  Four zucchini plants are far too many for a household of two!  We soon became very sick of zucchini.

That is, until a couple of weeks ago when I came up with a spectacular use of the veggie, inspired by a delicious meal at my favorite local restaurant, La Vrille.  My husband calls it 'The Tower', and requests it for dinner every single night.

It's a tower of pan fried, stone ground cornmeal crusted zucchini and raw tomatoes.  With a lot of thyme.  It is seriously delicious.  It is also extremely quick to prepare, and makes you look fancy. Although I've been making this nearly daily, I haven't measured any of the ingredients, and you don't need to, either.  If you feel like you really need to have measurements, here are some approximations:
1 zucchini
2 tomatoes
1/2 cup stone ground cormeal or polenta
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup milk
2 T olive oil
a few sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish

What you need is a zucchini and a tomato or two, depending on how many towers you want to make.  It is important that the zucchini and the tomato have approximately the same diameter!  This works especially well with large zucchini...but by the time I got around to taking pictures I had used up all my large ones.  You don't want MONSTER zucchini, but ones that are on the large end of edible, before they go all seedy.  This is only worth doing if you have a really nice tomato, as well. 
These are about the same size, even if a bit small.

Thinly slice the zucchini and the tomato.  

 Next you want to make your cornmeal mixture.  I like to use whatever lovely stone ground cornmeal or polenta that I can get my hands on.  It's important that it also has the germ in there, and I don't think this would be worth doing with cheap supermarket cornmeal.   I put some cornmeal in a small bowl, with some salt, pepper, and chopped thyme.  In another bowl, I put the milk.

Heat up two tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet, on medium flame.   Dunk the zucchini rounds in the milk, and then coat with the cornmeal mixture.  Set them in the heated, oiled pan.

When they start to get golden, with tiny bits of black on the bottoms, flip them.

Cook til golden on both sides, and the zucchini are tender.  Sometimes I splash a little bit of extra oil in the pan when I flip them, so that they get nice and crispy. At this point, put a cooked zucchini round on your plate, then a tomato, then a zucchini, etc, until you reach the desired height.  If you use small diameter veggies, you won't be able to go as high.  Obviously, if you slice them thinner you can get in more layers, as well. I like to sprinkle additional fresh thyme  between all the layers, as well.  And on top.  I do love thyme with zucchini and tomatoes!  It's also delicious with some goat cheese crumbled on top.

Serve hot and enjoy....


  1. Oh I can't wait to try this! I want to build a city :o)