From Faith: In 2009, Food & Wine Magazine asked for permission to print my recipe for feta and watermelon salad, a dish I had brought to Jacques Pepin’s picnic. but when I picked up the magazine at my mailbox and opened it, I was transfixed by another contributor’s dish, this winning shrimp and feta stuffed zucchini with chopped fennel.
The recipe creator is Ana Sortun, a terrific chef in Cambridge, Mass., where her restaurant Oleana is a popular spot to this day. I’ve made and enjoyed this dish many times because it’s so delicious, not to mention that everyone gives me zucchini.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 onion white, large, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/2 fennel bulb finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic large, minced
- 4 plum tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper crushed
- black pepper freshly ground
- 3/4 pound shrimp large, shelled, deveined and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoons dill chopped
- 6 zucchini small, round or oblong (2½ pounds), halved lengthwise
- 1½ cups feta cheese crumbled (6 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, fennel and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until tender, 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and cook, mashing, until thickened, 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove from the heat; let cool slightly. Stir in the shrimp, parsley and dill.
- Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a 1/4-inch shell all around. Rub with oil. Season the zucchini shells with salt and pepper and stuff with the filling. Transfer to a lightly oiled roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, until the filling is cooked through and the zucchini is just tender.
- Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat. Top the zucchini with the feta and broil for 5 minutes, until the feta is melted and golden. Serve the stuffed zucchini hot or at room temperature.
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