About this time of year — right after the 4th of July, in fact — the typical grill faves at our house seem to fade off into the proverbial sunset. They’re not nearly so exciting as they were when we dusted off the patio in May and had the first cheeseburger with grilled sweet potato wedges and Sriracha Mayo dip. Or even when the early sweet corn got overly buttered and salted just a week or two ago and I thanked God my dentist had only two weeks before — and for the third time (sheesh) — fixed the snaggletooth chip in my right front tooth. (Just you wait for the Olathe corn coming up next month! I’m ready.) The sides, particularly, feel a bit lackluster. Another ho-hum pasta salad or middle-of-the-road caprese? More lemony green beans?! “What’s for dinner?” begins again, especially as the sun seems to just hang there up in the sky something like forever and it’s hot as ________. Are we bored that easily? It seems we may be. A bit of an embarrassment, isn’t it?Jump to Recipe
Luckily, when the mid-summer food doldrums commence, the luscious vegetables and so-fragrant fruit begin to come on and save our collective behinds. (Raspberries! Tomatoes! Eggplant! Melon! All the basil anyone could want!) Now my own tomatoes, planted by the best gardener husband, are still just blossoms in the stars of his eyes (We do live in Colorado.)…but there are some from other not-too-far spots that are tasting pretty yummy. Hello again caprese, you rascal, you. The northwestern blueberries are in season (freeze a bunch, huh?) and strawberries….well, they’re tasting better than they have in nigh unto a year. In fact, I made strawberry-blueberry ice cream Thursday night that was 2-die-for. There’s a bit left in the freezer if you stop in. And the zucchini…well, there’s little I like better and it’s just beginning to show up small, dark, shiny, and
cheap inexpensive. There’s hardly anything I won’t do with a zucchina…from breakfast to lunch to dinner. A few thoughts:
And I’m ready, willing, and able to dream up zucchini recipes from here until forever, but I really do like zucchini best (well, I think so anyway) as a vegetable.
Especially when you do very little to it in order to serve it up as a side to grilled chicken, salmon, chops, on a salad, or by itself with some sliced tomatoes. If I do nothing more than toss it in olive oil, salt, and pepper (ok, crushed red pepper, too), and sauté or grill it, I’m good. Because zucchini is lovely AS IS. Add another couple of ingredients — say garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and it’s heaven. So there. You can try this:
grilled parmesan-garlic zucchini
- 2 medium zucchini, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch thick coins
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large plump clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese-1 ounce
- GET THE GRILL READY: Set grill for direct medium heat (350 degrees). Brush grates clean or use a grill pan or basket.
- PREP THE ZUCCHINI: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together the zucchini, salt, pepper, garlic, and oil.
- GRILL THE ZUCCHINI on one side (lid closed) until grill marks appear—about 3 minutes. Turn the zucchini coins over.
- ADD CHEESE/GRILL/TURN/REPEAT: Add a small pinch grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the grilled side of each zucchini coin. When melted, and the second side is then browned, turn the zucchini over again. To the second side, add the same small pinch of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to each coin and let the cheese melt. Turn zucchini again and you’ll see the crispy cheese on top now. Grill for a minute or so, then turn the zucchini one last time and the second side comes up cheesy-crispy, too.
- SERVE HOT, WARM, AT ROOM TEMP, OR COLD as an appetizer or as a side. If an appetizer, you might consider a dip such as a small cup of marinara sauce, pesto, or aioli.
Did you know…..
One zucchini is a “zucchina.”Mobile-cuisine dot com
CHANGE IT UP/THINGS TO READ/WATCH:
- Swap in yellow (summer) squash or yellow zucchini or sliced big, fat mushrooms for the zucchini.
- The Difference Between Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano/SPRUCE
- Use the grateable cheese you like or have on hand. Or skip the cheese for a vegan version. Or…
- Make vegan Parmesan Cheese./VEGGIESDON’TBITE
- Spice it up by adding a pinch of ground cayenne to the salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle grilled zucchini coins with a chopped or minced fresh soft herb like chives or parsley, etc.
- “The Zucchini Song” Tim Curry (Caution: all in good fun)
REDUCING FOOD/OTHER WASTE WITH THIS RECIPE:
A few pieces of zucchini left after dinner?
- Put them in a frittata for breakfast (scroll up for photo)
- Toss them in a salad at lunch or into a grilled tortilla drizzled with salsa ranch
- Serve a few cold with a dip as an appetizer
- Eat those zukes right out of the refrigerator for a snack
- Stir into a stir-fry or a pot of pasta or soup
- How to Freeze Zucchini/FOODNETWORK (Hint: Don’t freeze raw zucchini)
LIFE GOES ON:
ABOVE: Celebrating our 47th anniversary this week. This photo is just about how it all began and probably how it continues. Two college musicians kissing under the bell of a tuba after a halftime show. I was 19 and he was 20. We married the following year. I’m not sure I’d advise anyone else to marry so young, but it was the right thing for us — and yes, mom and dad, we did finish college!
BELOW: We combined birthday and anniversary gifts this year and splurged on a new Traeger smoker. Quite different than our old Oklahoma Joe (wood burning), the Traeger — as you might know —burns wood pellets, making it much easier for regulation of heat and smoke. Instead of way out in the yard for fire safety, the Traeger is right out on the deck by our gas grill. I have not cooked on it yet, but Dave has tried a few things, the first (at my request) being a roasted/smoked whole chicken. He also made a smoked potato salad, which sounds odd, but was great and not very smoky at all. I like to buy the smaller (younger) chickens at Whole Foods when they’re on sale or the kosher chickens at King Sooper’s. The typical whole chickens available in Colorado Springs are often 6 pounds, which is nearly like roasting a turkey. This bird was a smidge over 4 pounds and much more manageable. Pizza on Saturday night was good, but I like pizza grilled on the pizza stone on a gas grill better. For sure. Perhaps another trial will ensue. We’ll keep you posted.
Summer on, my friends. Cook. Or don’t. Sit in the shade, eat cheese and crackers and sip a cold one. Why not?
So glad you’ve stopped in and pulled up a chair at the table. It means a lot that you’ve read my ramblings and are dreaming of what you’ll be cooking next. Taking good care of yourself includes lovely food. I promise.