It’s summertime, and the zucchini plants are in full production mode. I lucked out and found these tiny, baby zucchini at the farmer’s market, and felt they deserved to be honored in a special dish. Cooking with zucchini presents its own challenges, and this method is the best for mastering the zucchini harvest. This is a perfect way to use your summer squashes, of any size, and a fast side dish that everyone will love.
Searing is Key to Zucchini Success
The key to cooking with zucchini is to use high heat. Zucchini is full of water, and searing it will keep the texture without making it soft and soupy. These baby zucchini have a tighter texture and nonexistent seeds, so they are less prone to weeping out all their juices. Cutting them in half, lengthwise, exposes the surface to sear, and makes a pretty presentation. If you have larger zucchini, try cutting them into batonets, by slicing lengthwise into 1/2 inch slabs, then slicing those into 1/2 inch wide strips. Cut those into 2 inch long batonets, and get ready for cooking with zucchini!
Try my fun new Caraway Pan, it’s great for searing vegetables!
Fresh Rosemary Adds Fragrance
To flavor my dish I added whole sprigs of rosemary, to infuse the oil without bothering to chop. Slivered garlic is less likely to burn in the pan, and becomes mild in the saute. Juicy grape tomatoes give it some sweet tomato flavor and coat the zucchini just a little. A dash of balsamic finishes the dish, giving it a sweet/tart finish to marinate in. These zucchini are fantastic just out of the pan, and also keep well, continuing to marinate and absorb flavor as they sit in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Cooking with Zucchini is Easy
So just remember these tips:
- Buy young, firm zucchini
- wash just before cooking, so the skins stay firm
- use high heat to sear or roast
- Use bold flavors, zucchini is really mild
Get ready for zucchini season, it’s going to be fun!
Baby Zucchini with Rosemary and Balsamic
- 1 pound baby zucchini halved
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, slivered
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic, or regular
- prep the zucchini, removing the stems and halving, or If you have larger zucchini, try cutting them into batonets, by slicing lengthwise into 1/2 inch slabs, then slicing those into 1/2 inch wide strips. Cut those into 2 inch long batonets.
- Preheat a large saute pan on high heat for a minute, then drizzle in olive oil. Swirl, then add the zucchini. Move it in the pan, use the tip of your spatula or fingers to flip zucchini cut side down, if desired. Add rosemary sprigs. Sear for a minute or two before stirring, turning the zucchini after they are lightly browned. Add carlic and pepper flakes and stir.
- When the zucchini are browned, add the tomatoes and stir until softened, then salt, drizzle in the vinegar and stir until coated and thick.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm. If desired, refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to a week.