Squashes, Tender or Summer: Middle Eastern-type zucchini

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Middle Eastern-type zucchini—also called Lebanese, Egyptian, Cousa, Kuta, and Magda, and by many more names—are typically stocky, pale green tapering cylinders with a thick darker green stem. Smooth-skinned and shiny with unusually solid, crisp flesh, they can be—and usually are—everything you could want from zucchini, and more. Moist (not wet) and flavorful, they brighten with cooking and retain their firm shape and sweet taste when baked, sautéed, steamed, or fried; hot, cold, and at room temperature. Even if their skin looks imperfect (they bruise and scratch easily), their flavor and texture are likely to be fine. Although not widely available in mainstream markets, Middle Eastern types show up at farmers’ markets, in specialty groceries, and in neighborhoods with a high proportion of Asian residents. Cook like classic zucchini.