After several years of observing the results of my feeble gardening attempts, my next door neighbor Pat (76 and still going strong) graciously responded to my pleas for help and has been guiding me this spring with soil amendments, starter plants, seeds, and all around gardening advice. As a result, here it is early June and I have a zucchini plant that is growing with wild abandon (amazing what a little water, sunshine, and organic fertilizer can do). The plant produces almost one zucchini a day and has been for about a month. Blessed with this new bounty, we now have a very good reason to try out new zucchini recipes, so be warned, you may be seeing more zukes on this site the summer than usual. (Have a favorite zucchini recipe? Please let us know in the comments.)
This particular zucchini sauté recipe is a take-off of my mom’s stand-by summer squash recipe. Gruyere Swiss cheese adds a wonderful nutty sophistication to this simple dish. Gruyere is on the expensive side, but you don’t end up needing as much because the flavor is more concentrated. You can substitute another Swiss cheese if you like. We have fresh tarragon and basil growing in the garden, which is what I used, but you could also use dried, or even Herbes de Provence. The trick to keeping the zucchini from getting soggy and overcooked, is to sauté it quickly in a rather hot pan.
- 1 lb zucchini (about 4 small zucchini or 1 large), sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices (if working with a large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise first)
- 1-2 Tbsp grapeseed oil or canola oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 2 ounces Gruyere Swiss cheese (can substitute other Swiss cheese), thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
1 Heat oil in a large sauté pan on fairly high heat. (An anodized aluminum pan works well for this purpose because it is stick resistant yet can handle high heat.) Coat the bottom of the pan with the oil, adding more if needed. When the pan is hot, add the zucchini and onions. Spread out along the bottom of the pan. Cook quickly on high heat, stirring frequently, until all zucchini pieces are a little browned at least on one side (about 2 minutes). Sprinkle with salt and pepper while cooking. Halfway through the cooking, add the garlic and the herbs. If there is any sticking to the pan, add a little more oil.
2 Remove the pan from the heat. Place slices of cheese over the zucchini in a single layer. Cover the pan. Let sit for a few minutes, until the cheese is just melted. Remove the zucchini to a serving dish. Serve immediately.