We are not suffering from an abundance of zucchini. I can’t really garden here due to the unfortunate combination of a big house and a small lot (resulting in complete shade) and most of my friends are not gardeners with the exception of my 10-year-old friend Hannah, who grows and shares beautiful tomatoes and cucumbers. No zucchini, though.
Since I am not aggrieved by baskets-full of the stuff, I still love it, and buy it every week at the Farmer’s Market. Unfortunately, the boys do not love it, and would really rather not see it again. Last night, I discovered that although I had planned (and published) a menu of grilled pork, corn and melon, I had not, in fact bought any corn. I had bought melon, but it turned out to be a yucky, tasteless specimen – unusual in these parts at these time of year, but it happens. So, I made a big pot of rice and stared at my zucchini, hoping to be inspired. I had the zucchini, I always have olive oil, garlic and onions, and I had these tiny peppers from the local Hmong farmers:
The Kitchen Gods were with me, and I came up with something that was not only eaten, but eaten with gratitude and enjoyment rather than a strong sense of fulfilling a duty.
Zucchini My Husband Will Eat
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed, diced, or some of each (I like to smash them because this recipe involves cooking them slowly so that they get very sweet and I loved finding chunks of the garlic in my zucchini, but dice is fine, too).
- 1 onion (I used a sweet one), diced
- 2 zucchini and/or other summer squash, cut into thin slices
- 6-10 tiny peppers, or 1-2 jalapenos, or whatever peppers you have, trimmed and diced (I made this dish very spicy; you might want to tailor the pepper level to your family’s fire tolerance).
- Edited to add: I have discovered, since publishing this recipe that some fresh or cooked corn, cut from the cob, is a fantastic addition to this dish.
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt and Pepper
Heat the olive oil in a generous frying or sautee pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, onions and peppers and cook slowly, careful not to burn garlic or brown anything, until vegetables are soft and onions are transparent. The garlic won’t get completely soft, but when the onions are soft and transparent, the garlic is ready.
Add the zucchini and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring constantly, until the zucchini softens and becomes more translucent. The onion may brown a bit here, but there should be enough moisture from the zucchini to keep anything from sticking or burning. If you see sticking or burning, you can add a little chicken broth, or water.
Taste a bit of zucchini. It will probably be quite spicy. Add about a tablespoon of sugar, and continue cooking; taste again. This produced, for me, a delightful kind of hot/sweet flavor that we loved. If you’ve added less pepper, add less sugar; the idea is just to transform the flavor from purely “hot” to a more complex, sweet-hot. Continue cooking until zucchini is all soft and you’re happy with the flavor. This is delicious over jasmine rice.