Makes 1 medium loaf, 6 – 8 servings
3 small zucchini (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup (about 2 ounces), dried apricots, (not organic), cut into ¼-inch pieces, packed
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled, plus 2 tablespoons for fruit and nuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 large eggs
½ cup very fresh dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup (about 4 ounces), diced dates, cut into ¼-inch pieces, packed
¾ cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1. Position the shelf in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 325°F. Generously butter a 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ¾ –inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with baking parchment and butter the parchment. Set aside.
2. Scrub the zucchini well using a vegetable brush, trim the ends, but do not peel. Cut the zucchini into 1-inch chunks. Shred the zucchini in a food processor fitted with the medium shredder blade using light pressure on the pusher. You should have about 4 cups. (Alternatively, the zucchini may be shredded on the half -moon side of a box grater.)
3. Transfer the zucchini to a colander and sprinkle with the salt, working it through to distribute evenly. Place an 8-inch plate directly on top of the zucchini and weigh it down with a heavy object, such as a large can of tomatoes. Let stand for 30 minutes to exude the liquid, then take handfuls of the zucchini and squeeze firmly to remove additional liquid. Set aside.
4. Place the diced apricots in a microwave-safe bowl and add enough water to cover. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Empty into a strainer and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well on paper toweling.
5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1½ cups of the flour, the baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger and coriander. Set aside.
6. Place the eggs in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
7. Add the brown sugar, then the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, taking about 2 to 3 minutes for each one. Beat for 2 minutes longer, or until the mixture is thickened and lightened in color.
8. Combine the butter and oil. With the mixer on, pour in the butter/oil mixture in a steady stream. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the zucchini and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients all at once, mixing just until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the machine.
9. Toss the apricots, dates, and walnuts with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Using an oversize rubber spatula, fold gently into the batter.
10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 65 – 70 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and springy to the touch. A wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
11. Remove from the oven and place on a cake rack to cool. When the loaf is almost cool, invert onto the rack. Remove the pan, peel off the parchment paper and turn the loaf top-side up and cool completely. To serve, cut the loaf into ½-inch slices with a serrated knife, using a back-and-forth sawing motion.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature tightly covered in aluminum foil or plastic wrap for up to 5 days or refrigerate for up to 10 days. This loaf may be frozen.