What are your feelings on breakfast - most important meal of the day? Personally, I prefer breakfast for dinner, but that’s almost 100% a timing thing. Make no mistake, breakfast fare itself is well-represented my food pyramid (along with french fries and cake), but the window for enjoyment is too short for my liking - Saturday and Sunday mornings - so breakfast for dinner it is. You see, during the workweek, I’m so deeply devoted to my morning coffee ritual - like, Olivia Newton-John-level devotion - that acquiring breakfast is usually just one more thing that I need to do before I make it to my cubicle for the day.
These days I've been attempting to make up for my mental ineptitude pre-coffee by adding a little extra time to evening meal time prep, and it's been working out swimmingly! Whichever night I do the bulk of my cooking - generally Sunday or Monday in anticipation of the busy week ahead - I tack on one more recipe designated for breakfasts. Conceptually, it's a breeze, and certainly nothing new. That said, preparing what amounts effort-wise to an additional course with dinner means that it has to be straightforward and simple. If I'm going to piddle around the kitchen all evening, I'd rather do it in the name of a fancier dinner.
Typically, eggy dishes and quick breads work best for me. This zucchini slice is the brilliant love child of both, and is the crown jewel of my "Easy Breakfast" repertoire thus far. It's endowed with all of the good qualities of eggs and quick breads (heft from the eggs, nicely crisped edges from the bread) and none of the bad (not as thin and dense as a frittata, not so full of empty calories as a quick bread). It’s sturdy, yet fluffy and reheats like a champ in a convection oven, though a microwave (say, the one in your office break room) works just fine too. The name of it, “Slice,” even sounds charming! A discreet and unassuming title is the perfect fit for these humble little squares. I’m not the first to give it rave reviews either, not by a long shot, as taste.com.au declares it “by far [the] most popular recipe." I myself happened upon it while perusing the archives over at the Clever Carrot a few months ago, and have been riffing on it ever since.
Now, here’s where things get sticky. I suppose I have a bit of a confession to make: I’ve been leaving out the bacon. That's right, despite the fact that both the taste.com.ua and the Clever Carrot versions call for bacon, the zucchini slice I’m presenting to you here today is baconless. Who am I?
But wait! Hold on! Before you slam your laptop closed in protest, let me explain: I love bacon as much as the next guy, and probably even more. But when I’m eating bacon, it is imperative that I actually taste it, and that is not the case with bacon in this zucchini slice. After having made this recipe no fewer than five times, I can say with certainty that the bacon here makes almost no difference in taste. I've found that it only adds salt, as well as a somewhat unbecoming textural element. So, while I'm still of the mindset that the majority of food can be improved with the addition of bacon, I'm here to tell you that this zucchini slice is firmly in the minority that isn't. I'd even go so far as to say that it was a waste of bacon.
To be fair, there is definitely an argument for using thick cut bacon here, which would yield much heftier chunks and more bacon per bite. I just didn't find a trip to the butcher necessary for making what was intended to be a quick and easy solution to my breakfast conundrum. I used Applegate bacon from my local Whole Foods every time, which is pretty standard as far as bacon goes. So call me crazy, but try me out on this one. Or follow one of the links below to the versions with bacon, and report back on whether you liked it better. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on making this for yourself!
2 medium zucchinis, grated and well drained
1/2 small red onion, grated or roughly chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. [I highly recommend doing both, rather than one or the other in this case. I do both each time and a little of the egg still sticks in the corners of the pan.]
Using a box grater, grate the zucchini. Line a bowl with a cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and place the zucchini inside. Lightly salt the zucchini so that it will release some of its moisture and let it sit for 10 minutes (or longer if you have time). Meanwhile, grate or finely chop the onion. Once the zucchini has rested, twist up the cloth to close and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Add the olive oil and season with black pepper and a little more salt if you like. Whisk well to combine. Fold in the reserved zucchini and onion.
To the bowl, add the flour and baking powder. Continue to mix until it looks like pancake batter. Gently fold in half of the crumbled goat cheese. Pour the mixture into your lined baking pan and sprinkle the remaining goat cheese over the top.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for even browning. It is done with the filling is set and the top is a deep golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with an optional, but highly recommended dash of hot sauce across the top.
Reheating suggestion: If you have access to a convection oven (or regular oven), use it over a microwave and the cut edges get the most amazing crisp to them.