Are you knee deep in zucchini? If you have a garden, it’s that time of year. I learned a long time ago that unless I want to feed an army, buying a six pack of zucchini seedlings is a mistake and will result in friends and neighbors running the other way when they see you in the street with an armful of large green squash. Leaving said squash on doorsteps in the dead of night is another option of course, but may not endear you to your neighbors.
Still, every year we grow one plant and that’s more than enough for us to eat, and to share with family and friends. The growing season is early here; we planted in April and were harvesting the first zucchini in early June. It was so hot in July the plant almost gave up, but this week it seemed to regenerate, giving us four more zucchini!
This dish is inspired by last year’s trip to Puglia and Basilicata, regions in the heel of Italy’s boot. We ate at a restaurant called il Cantuccio in Matera, a town known for its cave dwellings. In fact, our hotel was built into a series of caves in the towns outer walls which was all kinds of awesome, check it out. In that meal at il Cantuccio, the zucchini was sliced into small rounds, blanched, and then marinated with apple cider vinegar and toasted fennel seeds. You can see the original here.
Since returning home, I’ve made versions of this several times, both with the zucchini blanched and with it grilled, and while both are delicious, grilled wins out for me every time. I love the bit of char cooking on the grill gives to the sweetness of the zucchini, plus I like the ease of cooking on the grill (or even grill pan which I often use instead). Also, if you’re like me and
sometimes usually forget to pick the zucchini when they are small, grilling is an easy way to cook the cut slices.
If you’re looking for other zucchini ideas, check out the recipes for Stuffed Zucchini with Italian Sausage, Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan, or Zucchini and Arugula Salad with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. I’ll be making this dish tonight to bring to a friend’s house for dinner.
What are your favorite things to do with an abundance of zucchini? Leave me a comment and let me know!