Makes: 18 muffins or 30 mini muffins
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 oz. small zucchini, topped, tailed and very thinly sliced into roundels or finely diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme, plus 18 small sprigs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal or organic kamut* flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg, beaten with 2/3 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, or vegetable oil
5 oz. firm goat cheese or feta cheese, cut into small cubes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
*Kamut is an ancient wheat related to the durum variety. The flour is unrefined and often used in modern breadmaking.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat, then add the zucchini, onions, and chile. Add a pinch of salt and cook very gently for 3-4 minutes until the zucchini have lost their raw look, but still retain a crispness. They should not brown. Stir in the chopped thyme and let cool.
2. Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar into a bowl and stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, a little black pepper, two-thirds of the Parmesan and the paprika. Rapidly mix the beaten egg mixture and the melted butter into the dry ingredients (do not overmix), then stir in the zucchini mixture and goat cheese.
3. Spoon the mixture into the lined muffin pan. Sprinkle each muffin with the remaining Parmesan and top with a thyme sprig. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes -- they should just spring back to a light touch. Serve warm.
Note: If you want to make smaller muffins, line a 30-36 hole mini-muffin pan with small paper cases, fill with the mixture and reduce the baking time to 15-20 minutes. Be careful not to overbake them.
From the Cooking with Pumpkins and Squash cookbook.
Cooking with Pumpkins and Squash