Grandpa's potato kugel casserole: summer zucchini fun

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My paternal Grandfather loved to eat and he loved to cook, and he was well-known for both. The dogs used to cry, he'd tell me, when they saw him at the table, because they knew he would work through everything there, leaving little for them.


One of his favorite dishes, and mine, Eastern European/ Jewish-style Potato Kugel casserole, always struck me as brilliant for its creative use of shredded zucchini. Looking for ways to prepare this summer squash beyond merely boiling, roasting, or steaming, I was delighted when I realized that this refreshing summer vegetable makes up the base for a delicious and hearty side dish. Naturally gluten-free, it's a perfect choice for those on a celiac diet. And it's affordable, tasty, and easy to prepare. I remember my family fondly when I prepare this traditional "real-man's" dish.

2 medium large zucchini squash

4 cups chopped potatoes (large pieces)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

Shred the potato, zucchini, and onion on either a box grater or in a food processor with the shredder blade. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mixing the egg in with everything else. Oil a glass baking dish, fill with mixture, and bake for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool to room temperature, then cut into wedges and serve.

When Ian Finn is not shredding zuchinni, he is sharing his secrets gleaned from years in the food business.


Grandpa Schleifer cooked like a real man. Auto mechanic, Polish immigrant, World War II veteran, speaker of seven languages, John Wayne fan... he was a hard-boiled New Yorker, who brought a gentle touch to all of his tough-guy activities.

And man, could he cook. As a young boy, I always got excited when this strong-armed, tire-changing, don't-mess-with-my-friends-or-family tough guy, put on his apron and announced that potato-nick, kugel, and beef brisket would be on the table shortly. I knew I would eat well that day.

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