This zucchini bread takes a slightly more savory approach than standard-issue recipes, using olive oil instead of vegetable oil. It’s an easy swap, but it carries impact. For better texture, the zucchini is tossed with a little sugar ahead of time, which extracts excess water that can then be drained off before the zucchini is mixed into the batter. At The Whale Wins, one of Renee Erickson’s restaurants in Seattle, the bread is served toasted in a wood-fired oven with butter and then dusted with sea salt.
Olive Oil and Zucchini Bread
adapted from A Boat, A Whale, and A Walrus, by Renee Erickson with Jess Thomson
Makes one 8-inch pan
- 3 cups / 295 g grated zucchini
- 1 cup / 190 g granulated sugar
- 1 cup / 190 g dark brown sugar or muscovado sugar
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespons (265 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar, like demerara (for sprinkling on top; optional)
- Sea salt flakes for serving (optional)
Heat the oven to 350F. Butter or oil an 8-inch square pan.
In a bowl, mix together the zucchini and 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar. Line a bowl with a fine-mesh strainer and put the zucchini in the strainer to drain. Put a bowl filled with water or a plate with a can on top to weigh down the zucchini and speed up the draining process. When ready, the zucchini will have lost about 1/2 cup water.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining granulated sugar, the brown sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla until thoroughly blended. In stages, whisk in the olive oil until thoroughly combined.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well-blended.
Working with a handful at a time, squeeze excess water out of the zucchini and fold it into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
To serve, if desired, heat in a nonstick pan with a pat of butter or toast in the toaster, To finish, sprinkle with sea salt flakes.