Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini with Mission Fig and Toasted Almond Crust

Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini with Mission Fig and Toasted Almond Crust

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Credit: Daniel Scannell, CMC, executive chef, Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, N.Y.
The National Culinary Review, December 2003


2 zucchini
3 ounces kosher salt
1 gallon water
3 cups dried Mission figs
2 cups toasted almonds, chopped
Julienned vegetables, for garnish
Black Trumpet and Toasted Quinoa Pilaf (recipe follows)
Cranberry sauce, for garnish (recipe follows)

Black Trumpet and Toasted Quinoa Pilaf
Yields approximately 5 servings
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup dried black trumpet mushrooms
3/4 cup diced onions
1 ounce virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup white wine, hot
1 cup chicken stock, hot
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Dried Chile Marmalade (recipe below)

Dried Chile Marmalade
Yields 2 cups
15 dried ancho chiles
1/2 gallon water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pound brown sugar
1/2 pound raisins
1 ounce sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
11/2 cups orange juice

Cranberry Sauce
Yields 12 servings
11/4 pounds fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 juniper berries
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (optional)
1/2 tablespoon each orange and lemon zest preserves (optional)


Method: Remove centers of zucchini with a small stainless steel hollow dowel. Blanch shells centers in salted boiling water until tender but not overcooked. Shock zucchini in an ice bath, drain, and dry well. Stuff shells of zucchini with quinoa pilaf. Trim stems from figs and place figs in a food processor. Pulse until they are broken up, but not overly chopped. Spread figs on a piece of plastic wrap and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll out figs until they are uniformly even. The fig wrap should take on a rectangular shape. Measure fig wrap to fit around the zucchini. The wrap size should be perfect. Proceed wrapping zucchini with fig wrap using plastic wrap. Be sure wrap is tight. Allow to rest for a few minutes before applying almond crust. Apply almond crust by gently rolling stuffed
zucchini around in it. Rewrap in plastic wrap and slice to approximately 1/4 inch. Present slices in a uniform direction and serve with a garnish of julienned vegetables and cranberry sauce (see recipe).

Black Trumpet and Toasted Quinoa Pilaf
Method: Place quinoa in a fine mesh colander; wash and drain. Allow quinoa to completely airdry for approximately one hour. In a 375° F oven, toast quinoa on baking tray until golden brown. Re-hydrate mushrooms in cool water until soft. Drain and reserve. Sauté onions in olive oil and butter in a medium sauté pan until golden brown, Add garlic, red pepper, mushrooms, and quinoa. Stir well and proceed cooking quinoa like risotto by adding wine in increments, stirring each time. Once wine has reduced, add chicken stock and simmer until quinoa is cooked. Do not overcook quinoa. Place cooked quinoa in a bowl and add Chile Marmalade, cilantro, oil, salt, and pepper.

Dried Chile Marmalade
Method: Toast chiles in a 275°F oven for 5 minutes. Bring water and kosher salt to a boil, remove from heat, add chiles, and stir. Steep chiles for approximately 10 minutes, or until just softened. Drain chiles and cool. Remove stems and seeds by rinsing them in the chile water. Strain and reserve water; discard stems and seeds. Add brown sugar to strained water. Reduce this mixture by 75 percent or until mixture takes on the consistency of syrup. Remove from heat and add raisins, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Reduce orange juice in a stainless steel saucepan until reduced by 75 percent, or until it takes on the consistency of syrup. Remove from heat and reserve. Place chiles in a food processor and pulse two or three times. Add chile syrup and orange reduction. Process until marmalade has a coarse texture.

Cranberry Sauce
Method: Combine cranberries, sugar, lemon juice, Grand Marnier, kosher salt, cinnamon stick, juniper berries, bay leaf, Cabernet Sauvignon, and scrapings from the vanilla bean and mix well. Simmer mixture in a stainless steel saucepan until sugar has dissolved, about 45 minutes. Do not overcook. Add optional sherry vinegar and citrus zest preserves after sauce has cooled.

Note: Orange and lemon zest preserves are prepared by removing all the pith from zests and blanching the zests three times, changing water after each blanch. The blanched zests are reserved in simple syrup scented with star anise, vanilla bean, and Grand Marnier.


4 servings


Appetizer, The National Culinary Review, Vegetarian

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