If the phrase “zucchini slice” conjures an image of a round of the raw vegetable sitting next to the onion dip, it’s only because you haven’t been to Australia or New Zealand.
There, a zucchini slice is a whole other thing. A beloved lunchbox staple or café snack, it’s like a cross between a frittata and a savory quick bread, baked until firm enough to slice and eat out of hand. Cheesy, eggy and chock-full of vegetables, it’s a perfect thing to do with a surfeit of summer zucchini, especially when the thought of whipping up yet another zucchini bread or batch of grilled zucchini makes you ever so slightly weary.
His recipe is a meatless, brighter and more complex take on the one that’s been making the rounds in food and women’s magazines for decades.
“All recipes for zucchini slice are pretty much the same,” Mr. Volger said. “There’s bacon in it and it’s really caloric, with a bunch of eggs and cheese.”
In his quest to lighten up the classic formula, he nixed the bacon and added a combination of olives and pickled peppers to give a deeply salty bite. Stirring in half a cup of chopped herbs gave the slices a freshness and a pretty speckling of green. And finally, calling for leeks instead of the usual diced onions, and sautéing them first, lends a sweeter flavor and makes the slices neater and less soggy.
You also needn’t stick to using just zucchini in the recipe, Mr. Volger said. You can substitute shredded vegetables such as carrots or beets, or leftover cooked broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, greens or mushrooms for up to half of the zucchini without losing the essence of the dish. Even better, you can serve it hot, warm or at room temperature. Or make it a day or two ahead, store it covered in the fridge, then let it come to room temperature before serving so the texture is supple and soft.
In Australia, the genre of slices also includes all manner of plain and ornate sweets. “There are brownie slices and coffee cake slices, it’s like everything can be turned into a slice in Australia,” Mr. Volger said.
But for an easy and vegetable-rich meal, Mr. Volger’s delightful zucchini iteration hits the mark.
Recipe: Australian Zucchini Slice