This recipe made its way into my notebook back at the end of the glorious ’90s, when my sister had its brief, meteoric cooking phase… she found this zucchini strudel on Italy’s oldest and most reliable magazine, “La cucina italiana”.
Now, this magazine holds this recipe in such a low consideration that its website currently hosts 433 recipes featuring zucchini, but not this one!
Luckily, I am here to fill you up!
I have been making one of this for every pic-nic and every potluck in the last 15 years. Last time here in Houston for my first 4th of July, and I am proud to say that the strudel got its first Texan fans!
Enough said, you have to try it!
1 cup all purpose flour
3 oz almond flour
3 oz gr grated parmigiano
1/5 stick butter
2 Tbsp cold water
18 oz zucchini (I love gray zucchini squash, marked as “calabaza squash” at my H-E-B)
10 oz queso panela
5 oz ham
salt, freshly ground black pepper
Mix the flour with the almond flour and the grated cheese, then add melted butter and the egg.
Work the mixture and then add the water to form a pastry dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Note: I do not buy almond flour. Instead I mill almonds in my food processor until they are a fine powder.
For the filling: wash the zucchini and slice them: I try to go for 3 mm width, but it doesn’t really matter as long as they’re not cut into chunks wider than 1/4 in.
Slice the shallot, and sautè the zucchini and the shallot until zucchini are cooked but not mashed.
If you like it as I do, this would be the moment to add a generous pinch of chopped mint.
Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 10 by 14 in, upon a sheet of parchment paper.
Place the ham on the pastry, leaving one inch ham-free close to the edge that you deem more regular.
Spread the zucchini evenly on the ham, season with salt and pepper, then finally place queso panela slices on top.
Queso panela is readily available here in Texas: it is a Mexican fresh cheese, shiny white, with milky yet salty taste, and the characteristic that it doesn’t melt like mozzarella.
Using the parchment paper sheet, close the rectangle in a roll: starting with the “ugly” edge, fold it on itself, then roll the “nicer” edge on top.
Watch out, because the roll will try to flatten back as soon as you detach the parchment paper from it, so hold it with your free hand.
With your fingers a little wet, seal the edge and the far ends: the pastry dough should seal very easily.
To allow the cooking steam out, make some cuts on the surface.
Transfer everything on a baking tin and cooke it in the oven for 45 minuts at 350F, until the strudel is a nice hazelnut colour.
I like to serve it sliced obliquely, baguette style, and with a nice glass of White wine!