These days I find myself spending way too much time watching cooking shows and cooking videos. I love to watch chefs cook. And eat. I find it deeply comforting to watch Claire, Brad, and Molly in the Test Kitchen on the Bon Appetit channel or snuggle in with Mary Esposito’s Ciao Italia on Youtube as she makes ricotta pies. Before they put up the paywall, I spent hours watching Paul Hollywood roll out every kind of dough imaginable and drool as he and Mary Berry sat down with a cup of tea and enviously watched the Chantilly Cream ooze out the sides as they bit into creampuffs.
In addition, the word slathered has found its way into my daily vocabulary.
With everything going on in the world, seeking comfort through vicarious eating and baking makes my nervous system very happy.
My latest obsession is Thomas Keller in his Vegetable and Pasta Master class. He has a way of taking something as simple as zucchini and turning it into a gourmet experience. He glides around the kitchen in his blue button-down dress shirt, sleeves casually rolled up to his elbows, elegant and always in control. I thrill as he wraps twine around a cluster of asparagus shoots, and swoon as his lemon zest falls gracefully onto the plate. Magic.
Now that we are in the heart of summer squash season, I wanted to share Mr. Keller’s roasted zucchini recipe. Through a deceptively simple process, the zucchini take on flavors never before exposed. They turn out browned and succulent and go well as a side dish, with an antipasto platter, and to snack on with a hunk of bread and cheese. Finely chopped and lightly salted tomatoes pair nicely with this dish.
- 3 medium-sized zucchini – green or yellow
- 4 tbsp. neutral-flavored oil that handles high heat- avocado, sunflower, etc.
- sea salt
- Maldon finishing salt
- 1 medium tomato, chopped and lightly salted for garnish optional
- Preheat oven to 450 °F
- Wash zucchini and cut in half, lengthwise. Use a sharp paring knife, and cut little digonal slits into the cut edge of the zucchini, not very deep., to create a checkerboard pattern. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. This will allow some of the water to be drawn out of the zucchini, making them easier to brown. After 10 minutes, use a paper towel to blot the excess water.
- Heat the oil an oven-safe frying pan or cast-iron skillet. Place the zucchini, cut side down. Adjust the heat so the zucchini caramelize without burning and continue to cook zucchini until they until darkly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Immediately transfer the pan into the 450 ° oven and roast for 20 – 25 minutes. The zucchini will be very soft. Remove, cool, and serve with a sprinkle of Maldon finishing salt. Serve with crusty bread slathered with chopped tomatoes.
for more seasonal local veg ideas….check out What’s the Veg?