Summer Abundance

At this time of year in Seattle, home gardeners are usually wondering what to do with all of their extra zucchini. Unfortunately, from what I have heard from all of my friends with gardens, the zucchini has not come into full swing this year due to our cold summer. When it does, you can be prepared with this recipe.

I went to Napa for a weekend last year with my friend Dana, and we had dinner one evening at Long Meadow Ranch. It was an amazing meal, and one of the things we ordered was this zucchini dish. When I got home, I picked up the latest issue of Food & Wine magazine and was happy to find the recipe in it.

It’s one of the few recipes I prepare almost exactly as it was written.

Roasted Zucchini with Ricotta and Mint
6-8 servings
Total cooking time: 35 minutes

Flavored with fennel and cumin seeds, this quick side dish (or vegetarian main course) has an Indian flavor.

8 medium zucchini (3 pounds), cut into ½-inch dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh ricotta, for serving (Do not add if you are following the Whole30 Challenge)
Mint leaves, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread diced zucchini on two large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper.

Note: I like to use a cast-iron pan to roast the zucchini so that it carmelizes nicely.

2. Roast for about 18 minutes, until zucchini are browned around the edges. Sprinkle the zucchini with the crushed red pepper, cumin seeds and fennel seeds, and roast until fragrant (about 2 minutes longer).

3. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl. Toss with lemon juice and season with salt. Dollop the ricotta beside the zucchini, and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with mint leaves, and serve.

From Food & Wine, August 2010

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