Fresh From the Garden

Zucchini!  This time of year, those of us with vegetable gardens are blessed with an abundance of fresh vegetables, but anyone who planted zucchini can be facing too much of a good thing.  Stored in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable bin, fresh picked zucchini should keep well for 4-5 days.  Well known for being the star of zucchini bread, it is versatile enough to be used in many other creative ways:

Slice thinly or shredded, it can be added to quiches or frittatas, used in a wrap or as a topping for pizza. Cut into thicker slices or ‘wands’, it can be served with a creamy dip or yogurt sauce.  It makes a delicious baked vegetarian entrée layered with slices of onion, eggplant, tomatoes and feta cheese.  Chop it and toss with spaghetti, a little pesto and toasted pine nuts.  Cut in half lengthwise, the seeds can be scooped out to create a ‘boat’ to hold a variety of meat, vegetable, grain, or cheese fillings.  Cut crosswise into thick slices, a melon baller can be used to create a little bowl to hold 2-bite servings of tabouleh, chicken or tuna salads.  Use a vegetable peeler to create zucchini ribbons and toss with a flavorful vinaigrette for a tasty salad.  And there’s always ratatouille!

The following recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare zucchini. It’s quick enough for a weeknight meal, but elegant enough to serve when entertaining as well!

Almond-Topped Zucchini

3 medium zucchini, sliced thin

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon butter

4 teaspoon thyme

1/3 cup smoked almonds, chopped coarsely

Heat skillet over medium-high heat; add oil and butter and swirl til butter melts and bottom of skillet is coated. Add the sliced zucchini and minced garlic and saute briefly til zucchini is crisp tender. Toss with thyme, season with salt and pepper if desired,  and serve, garnished with chopped almonds.

Enjoy!

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