Hello all! After a fantastic wedding and honeymoon, we’re back to cooking like ourselves again. It was a few crazy weeks of delicious restaurant meals (and crackers shoved into my face when time got away from me), but now it’s time to settle into some better eating habits. Luckily, it’s summer, so healthy eating is (relatively) easy, especially for those of us with a CSA or you lucky, hard-working folks with a garden. Just keeping up with the flood of produce forces it.
This is our first summer with a CSA and we’ve never had a garden, so we knew about the summer zucchini attack only second hand. We’ve seen piles and piles of them at the farmers’ market, of course, but could choose whether or not to take buy any. Now, we don’t have that choice. On Wednesdays, we dutifully take them home and figure out what to do with them. I have to be honest, though…I don’t love zucchini in it’s pure form. I could eat truckloads of it in my mom’s chocolate zucchini cake, but I was kind of at a loss for other, less indulgent uses. So we’re experimenting. I like this recipe, because it tastes bright and tangy from the lemon juice and mint. I also love smooshy things on toast – poached eggs, avocado, overly ripe peaches, whatever!
Feel free to play around with the ingredients. The recipe is from a Jamie Oliver cookbook, which uses measurements like a “glug” of olive oil, so you can’t take it too seriously. I think basil would be nice instead of mint. I love garlic and chiles, so I will probably add more of each next time. This would also make a good pasta sauce or cracker topping. It would probably be amazing in a grilled cheese sandwich, too.
In the wedding rush, we didn’t take any pictures of this. Sorry!! Honestly, it’s not that photogenic, so you’re not missing much.
Smashed Zucchini with Lemon and Mint
Serves 4 (or so)
|Amount||Ingredient||Preparation||Where we bought it (USM = Somerville’s Union Square Market)|
|1/4 cup||Sunflower oil||Divided; substitute olive oil or another neutral oil||Stolor Organics|
|2-3 cloves||Garlic||Finely chopped||Keith’s Farm|
|2||Dried chiles||Crumbled with your fingers||Home-dried|
|About 2 pounds||Summer squash||We used all zucchini, but the yellow ones would work just fine.||Red Fire Farm CSA|
|To taste||Salt and pepper|
|About 1/4 cup||Mint||Loosely packed||USM|
|2 TBsp||Lemon juice||About 1 lemon’s worth|
- Wash the summer squash then chop it into roughly 1-inch pieces. Don’t worry about being too precise. It’s going to cook down to mostly mush anyway.
- Mince the garlic and crumble the chiles.
- Heat half the oil (2 TBsp) in a large pan with a lid (12-inches or so) until a drop of water sizzles a bit when you drop it in. Cook the garlic and chiles uncovered on medium heat for a few minutes until they start to brown and you can smell them.
- Add in the summer squash and stir to coat it in the garlicy, spicy oil. Put the lid on and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan every 5 minutes. The lid should keep enough moisture in to prevent serious sticking, but if the mixture starts to burn, add a little water. It’s done when you like the texture, so give it a taste.
- Once you decide it’s cooked enough, add in the salt and pepper, mint, and lemon juice to taste. You can always add more, so start slow and stop when you like it.
- Finally, add enough of the remaining oil to make it smooth and spreadable. Toast some bread and pile it on.