Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zucchini Escabeche

Zucchini is BACK!

And I get a ball zucchini. This have tasty, sweet flesh on the outside, BUT, are filled with the foamy, seedy, bitter pith. So the little rounds of zucchini baked or sauteed and married with parmesan are out. What to do?

A new cooking method comes to the fore. Escabeche. This is a relative of the too-popular ceviche that took over the cooking shows last year. But instead of using acid to "cook" the food, escabeche preserves cooked food with the acid.

So, (after a few tries)....

Zucchini Escabeche

zucchini (1 big-ish, or 2 smallish)
1 purple onion - frenched (that is, sliced into thin wedges - about the width of a pinky)
1 sweet onion - also frenched
what ever tender herbs are at hand (I have parsley, basil, oregano, and used a little tarragon)
salt & pepper to taste
rice vinegar
white wine or white balsamic vinegar
lime juice (optional)
white wine (optional)
Open your zucchini and scoop out the spongy, seedy center.
Trim off the stem, blossom end, and any rough spots on the skin.
Thinly slice the zucchini, sprinkle and toss with 1/2 tsp of salt.
Leave to drain for about 30 minutes.

Rinse off the salt thoroughly, and layer in a colander. Mercilessly press out excess moisture with a few layers of paper towel topped by a tea/kitchen towel.

Set aside.

Heat a about 1/8th - 1/4th inch of olive oil in a wide saute pan (amount depends on the size of pan) over med high heat.

Fry the zucchini in the oil in batches. And REALLY fry it. Get it brown around the edges. It removes moisture and gives the zucchini a lovely sweet flavor, and a tender, fluffy texture with crispy edges.

*You can just salt and eat the zucchini this way, there will ALWAYS be more zucchini*

As they fry, drain them on paper towels on a rack.
When you are done with the zucchini, saute only the purple onions until they are softened, and some have brown edges.
Place all the cooked vegetables, and the raw sweet onions, and a small - medium handful of chopped herbs to a non-reactive container (glass or plastic, or in a pinch, stainless steel). Begin by adding about 1/2 C of vinegar - about half rice vinegar and half white wine/white balsamic.
Add a good splash of lime juice and/or white wine if you are using them.
Stir in a few grinds of pepper.

Time to finish by your own palate. The only way you will eat this is if it is Tasty.
So start to add salt, pepper and acids to taste.
This means TASTE!
If it is TOO acid, fear not. Pour out about 1/2 the liquid and replace with some white wine. And then begin to adjust again.

This is awesome over rice & such.
It is great with thick white fish (halibut, cod etc.)
And was born to be eaten with chicken or veal or...
White beans stewed in chicken broth.

And the leftovers went so very well with a tortilla with jack cheese and the ends of the chicken!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My housemates and I have been very overwhelmed by zucchini in our CSA delivery! Thank you for sharing this great idea!