This is such a simple concept and very delicious when made with fresh zucchini. If all you have is spongy stuff I’d make something else (or put them on the compost).
4-5 (400g / 14 oz) zucchini (courgettes) 1½ Tbsp butter or 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil Salt ½ -1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese Freshly ground black pepper, optional
1 Grate zucchini coarsely on a box grater and transfer to a colander. Sprinkle with salt, stir it through (it sticks to fingers so a fork is best) and leave it to drain for 10 minutes. Squeeze gently to remove excess liquid.
2 Heat a medium frying pan (skillet) over medium-high heat, just to warm it. Add butter, melt, then add zucchini. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper if liked. Cook briefly, tossing with tongs, just until zucchini is about to wilt. Don’t let it collapse. The idea is to cook it just until the heat gets through and starts to soften it. Serve immediately with parmesan cheese.
Add 2-3 trimmed and finely chopped spring onions (scallions) to the butter or oil and cook gently for about 5 minutes until tender; don’t fry, just soften. Then add zucchini and finish as described. A little basil or thyme is a good addition, although basil will darken with the heat.
Dinner for Two
Spoon cooked zucchini into two bowls and top each with a poached or fried egg. A little added tarragon – fresh or dried – is delicious added to the zucchini, or fry eggs in extra virgin olive oil or butter adding sage leaves to the pan. Cook sage leaves until crisp. Transfer eggs to dishes and top with crisp sage leaves and parmesan cheese.
Zucchini & Carrot Toss
Carrots and zucchini cooked together are wonderfully sweet. My sister-in-law Lynne cooked this for me last year when I stayed with her and my brother Pat in Wairarapa where I hunkered down for the big Covid-19 Lockdown. In their garden zucchini were doubling in size overnight, and this was her quick way of dealing with them. It goes with fresh fish, chicken and plenty of other vegetable dishes.
Simply grate 2 medium carrots in place of two of the zucchini. We usually opted for mint rather than basil in this version. When you combine carrots with zucchini it takes a few minutes more for the vegetables to soften down, but again, just heat until the mixture is starting to wilt.
If serving with fish, coarsely grate a small knob of fresh ginger, and squeeze it over the vegetables in the pan and toss through.
If serving with pork, add a few fennel seeds to the butter or oil in the beginning and just let the seeds warm through briefly before adding the vegetables.