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Zucchini, tomato, basil sliders or hope for those honking, monster zukes

2014 September 17
by Rachel Turiel

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I brought this dish to two parties last weekend, and it was such a hit that the friends who got to the table after it ran out at the  first potluck were thrilled to see me bring it the following night. (In Durango, on the Venn Diagram of community, there is endless overlap. The categories are drawn less on political, religious or school affiliation and more like: Once went on a river trip together, or In a playgroup together since birth. Or, I can’t even remember how I met half these people, just, you know, living here. Oh, how I love this town).

If you grow zucchini and don’t spend all your free time sneaking quietly around, lifting enormous leaves, ready to catch a slender green fruit just as it begins to morph into something that could be marketed as “slugger,” you will find yourself with a few monsters on hand. In our unpredictable world, this is reassuringly inevitable.

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Four year old Rose, the true delicacy.

Here’s a confession: I don’t really love zucchini. I mean, do you? There’s got to be a reason that 75% of zucchini recipes call for enormous amounts of sugar and butter—triple chocoalicious zucchini cheesecake!—the reason being something like distraction from the possibility that you’re actually eating a rubber sandal.

But the truth, which is so game-changing that it could go down in my personal cosmology as The Truth, is that if you marinate a vegetable in oil and salt, and grill, roast or broil it, it transforms into its sweetest, richest, caramelliest self, browning and crisping into something like the potato chip of the vegetal world: addictive and delicious. “What? (Crumbs spattering). That was for the potluck? Oops.”

For this recipe you actually want the overgrown zukes, especially before they get very seedy. They slice up into perfect rounds much like little melba toasts onto which you can pile delicious ingredients, bring it to a potluck and feel very fancy.

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Ingredients

One very large zucchini, yellow squash works great too.

Feta cheese or goat cheese…maybe that soft mozzarella? If you’re dairy-free omit the cheese or substitute with…pesto?

A few large, ripe, flavorful tomatoes

Handful of basil leaves

For the marinade: oil is the most important (I like olive oil), followed by salt. Just enough to coat each slice. You can add anything else you like: balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of mustard, a dash of tamari, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, minced garlic.

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Marinating in, confession #2: bacon grease, a splash of rice vinegar and salt.

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Broiled, both sides. This is the point at which restraint is called for, to keep from eating the whole tray. 

Directions

Slice the zucchini in approximately 1/8 – 1/4 inch rounds, coat with marinade. Let sit for anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days (if 2 days, keep in fridge), stirring the slices to evenly coat the zucchini. Place zucchini rounds on cookie sheet, sides can be touching, and place on upper middle rack in oven and turn to broil. Set your timer for 5 minutes at which time check the browning. In my oven, on the middle shelf it takes about 10 minutes on each side, but check every 5 minutes to prevent charring. When the tops are brown, turn once. It usually takes less time on the flip side.

Once cool, layer with a slice of tomato, a basil leaf and a dollop of feta cheese. You could get creative here with any number of ingredients: a slice of gouda, chopped green chiles, a dollop of hot sauce, chopped mint, a fried egg, a pile of sauteed mushrooms, cucumber slices, roasted peppers, whatever.

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Option #2: broiled yellow squash “bread.” Inside: a fried egg, green chiles and tomato slices. Holy yes.

hh - life coach8
xo,
Rachel
*I couldn’t figure out a name for these, hence the different versions in your e-mail, on Facebook. Then Rose reminded me of the name our friend Chris gave them, sliders. Perfect.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. September 17, 2014

    Mmm…that looks good! And I don’t love zucchini, either (nor does my family…although I like it deep fried. Anything tastes good deep fried!) and we don’t grow it, because there’s a saying here in Maine, “The only time folks lock their front doors is in September, to keep out the people dropping off zucchini,” so usually two or three make their way into our house, and now I know what I’ll do with them.

  2. September 17, 2014

    ha ha ha ha ha…i’m still choking over “rubber sandal”…oh my goodness, so true! where was this recipe in august when we were harvesting pale zuchs twice the size of fern’s head…which is already an extraordinary size, so, you know…

    anyway, thank you for this, because our zuchs are still going to town. and four year old rose! oh be still my heart. and be still time please, just for a little bit.

    late summer love to you rachel. xo

  3. Ellie permalink
    September 17, 2014

    These look so00 delicious. I share your sentiments about zucchini, though I made a soup this past weekend with zucchini and corn that I then pureed straight in the pot, and it turned out deilicious. An Alice Waters recipe, but you can probably come up with one yourself: onion, garlic, zucchini, corn, basil, salt. Basically.

  4. September 18, 2014

    Delicious and hilarious. Zucchini happens to be my favourite vegetable of all times, all year round, even with a simple thyme-and-salt-and-olive-oil quick sauté affair.

    So this whole proposition has me positively salivating – and laughing out loud at “What? (Crumbs spattering). That was for the potluck? Oops.”

    :o)

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