Papoutsakia (Stuffed Zucchini)

A classic Greek dish that is literally means, “little slippers.” Papoutsakia are a very popular item at the annual Greek Food Fair in Santa Cruz, CA.

INGREDIENTS:

4 fresh, firm zucchini, medium size
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine herbs
1/4 pound fresh ground lamb or beef (OR, substitute 1 cup bread crumbs for vegetarian style)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons white wine
Grated Parmesan cheese

METHOD:

Wash the zucchini and then bake them  5-7 minutes in a hot oven (400°F)  to soften slightly. Let the zucchini cool.

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the centers creating little slippers (the Greek word is papoutsakia). Reserve the pulp.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, sauté the meat (or breadcrumbs), onion, and garlic in olive oil until tender, then add the reserved pulp, herbs, parsley, wine and salt and pepper to taste.

Lay the papoutsakia on a baking tray that has been lightly oiled and fill zucchini with the filling. Finish with a slight sprinkling of chopped parsley and grated cheese and bake in a 350°F oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

SOURCE: Anastasia Karastamatis, head chef for annual spring Greek Food Fair and Festival.

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