This recipe caught my eye in the latest issue of Cook’s Country (my favorite cooking magazine). It’s peak season for zucchini right now, but other than grilling it, I’m never quite sure what to do with it. Roasted zucchini is delicious, but who wants to crank up the oven in mid-July? And, despite lots of trial and error, I’ve never found a good zucchini soup recipe. They always taste bland and watery to me.
In this recipe, the zucchini is quickly seared over high heat so the cut side gets nice and golden brown while the inside stays raw. Then you dice it up and toss with a bright, zippy marinade inspired by bottled Italian salad dressing but so, so much better.
A few notes: I was recently influenced by Deb Perelman (aka Smitten Kitchen) to invest in some Aleppo pepper (this is the one I bought). Have you tried it? Aleppo pepper is about half as hot as red pepper flakes, and it has a subtle smokey, almost raisiny flavor. It enhances the flavor of everything, and I’ve been adding it to eggs, sprinkling it over salmon, pizza, and salads. It’s extremely delicious in this recipe, but if you don’t have it, just use red pepper flakes.
Also–the next time I make this marinated zucchini, I’m going to leave out the Parmesan. I found the marinade so flavorful that I didn’t need the cheese, and it got kind of lost. Why not just skip it for a totally vegan version?
Finally, full disclosure: my kids did not eat this. They are super picky and pretty much stick to a vegetable rotation of broccoli, carrots, corn, and sliced cucumber. But! I still think this zucchini is kid-friendly, provided you have slightly better eaters than I do.
The Best Marinated Zucchini
This bright, fresh marinated zucchini salad is quick and simple to make, kid-friendly, and a great way to use up all that summer squash. It keeps well for several days in the fridge. Look for medium-sized zucchini (about 8 ounces each).
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler optional
Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, shallot, lemon juice, salt, thyme, garlic, and pepper flakes in large bowl.
Pat zucchini very dry with paper towels (this is important!). Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet until shimmering. Add half of zucchini, cut side down, and sear until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and sear other side. Remove to cutting board and repeat with remaining zucchini.
Slice zucchini crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Transfer to bowl with marinade and toss gently to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Zucchini can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the fridge. If refrigerating, allow to sit for about 30 minutes and season with salt before serving. Leftovers keep well for several days.
Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving, if using.
Adapted from Cook's Country.