Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Spanish Marinated Zucchini, The Perfect Small Plate

Contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food can take the most maligned of summer vegetables, say, for instance, the zucchini, and turn it into something extraordinary, a treat that you would happily set in front of the most hoity-toity of guests. Though we don't have many of those, fortunately, I'll still be setting this out as a tapa on the table this summer.

Spanish Marinated Zucchini

The Moors ruled the Iberian peninsula for 700 years, and their legacy includes dishes like this. The Spanish word escabeche refers to foods cooked and marinated in vinegar; the word itself derives from the Arabic al-sikbaj, a sweet and sour meat dish. But even without the interesting culinary history, escabeches are delicious.

Start with relatively thick slices of zucchini or any summer squash, about half-inch, so they don't get too soft. I like to split long squash lengthwise, then slice. Cook them in fairly hot extra virgin olive oil until they're lightly browned, about 5 minutes. While the squash cook, toast a couple of tablespoons of cumin seeds in a dry skillet for a few minutes, until they're aromatic and just starting to brown.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked squash to a bowl; you want some of the oil but not all of it. Add some chopped garlic, fresh thyme and rosemary, and a good sprinkling of Katz Trio red wine vinegar [or any good quality red wine vinegar]. Toss with flor de sal and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

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