Alison's Lunch

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lemony sauteed zucchini

lemony sautéed zucchini

This recipe is a really quick way to use up a lot of zucchini! It’s a combination of 1) the flavors from the zucchini skillet cakes in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers book, and 2) a method of quick-cooking zucchini that I found in a long-ago issue of Cooks’ Illustrated. Zucchini is so full of water that it’s hard to deal with all the liquid that comes out of it—the zucchini usually gets soggy and it’s hard to make sure all the pieces are cooked evenly. So using this method, you grate the zucchini and then roll it in a dishtowel and wring out the extra water! It’s a fast and easy recipe—easier than the skillet cakes.

You can choose your topping on this recipe—use either the toasted pine nuts, toasted almonds, or the slightly more involved garlicky bread crumbs. Whatever suits your time frame and fancy!

4 medium-large zucchinis (about 3 pounds), grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
3 teaspoons chopped thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
3 tablespoons scallion greens
grated zest of a lemon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained

choice of toppings

¼ cup pine nuts
OR
¼ cup almonds
OR
bread crumbs:
2 slices whole wheat bread (you can use stale bread, but not dried hard)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

1. Placing a quarter or a third of the grated zucchini in a dish towel, roll the towel up around the zucchini, and, using two hands, twist the towel as tightly as you can (over the sink) and watch the water pour out! Shake the zucchini out into a large bowl, and repeat with the rest of the zucchini.
2. If you’ve chosen bread crumbs for the topping, tear the bread slices into smallish pieces and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse and grind them until they are finely ground into bread crumbs. Use 1 cup of them or more for this recipe.  Brown the bread crumbs in olive oil (with optional garlic) in a small skillet over medium heat. Remove from the heat when browned, toss in a little salt to taste, and set aside.
3. If you’ve chosen pine nuts for the topping, toast them gently in a dry skillet until golden.
4. If you’ve chosen almonds for the topping, toast them in a 350-degree oven on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.
5. Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large skillet and sauté the garlic slices until fragrant—a minute or so. Add the grated, dried zucchini and sauté until tender, about 8 or 10 minutes. You can cover the pan in between stirring to hurry this process.
6. Add the parsley, thyme, chives or scallions, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and capers. Cook for a minute or so longer until the flavors are melded and the parsley is slightly wilted. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly.
7. Serve in a large dish or on individual plates, adding the topping of your choice. Serve immediately.