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~ Pure & Simple: Summer Squash (Zucchini) Saute ~

IMG_0161Joe's August vegetable garden has been keeping the vegetable bin of my refrigerator full of green and yellow zucchini for almost two weeks now.  I've been keeping up with them (which really isn't a chore because I love them), but, the moment Joe walked into the kitchen this AM with his latest harvest (12), I knew I had to get things under control ASAP.  This recipe is a tasty way to use 6-8 of these fast growing veggies at once, and, it's about as pure and simple as it gets: delicately-flavored Summer squash (green and yellow zucchini are a type of Summer squash), a mild onion, a subtle herb, a bit of butter, some sea salt and peppercorn blend.

IMG_0175In the big picture, all squash fall into two categories:  Winter or Summer. Green and yellow zucchini are generically: Summer squash. They're a member of the Italian marrow squash family, and, were brought to the USA by Italian immigrants in the 1920's.  

Aside from color, yellow zucchini are identical to green zucchini. While they are indeed a type of yellow squash, correctly labeled IMG_9689they are:  golden or yellow zucchini. <They (pictured here) remain cylindrical in shape, do not taper at one end and get bulbous at the other, and/or have crook necks.  

Botanically, green and yellow zucchini are the fruit of the zucchini flower, but culinarily, they're treated as a savory vegetable.  They're best if harvested small/medium, 8"-10" long, while their seeds and fragile skin are still young and tender. 

This quick & easy, unpretentious weeknight side-dish... 

IMG_00664  tablespoons salted butter

4  generous cups unpeeled and thinly-sliced (1/4") small-medium (8"-10") green zucchini

4  generous cups unpeeled and thinly-sliced (1/4") small-medium (8"-10") yellow zucchini

4  ounces finely-diced yellow or sweet onion (about 1 cup)

1/4  cup minced, fresh dill

freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend, to taste, as needed throughout recipe

IMG_0028 IMG_0041 IMG_0060~ Step 1.   Prep the zucchini, onion and dill as directed.  Feel free to use all green or all yellow zucchini in this recipe.

6a0120a8551282970b01a73dfe4a22970d 6a0120a8551282970b01a73dfe4a9a970d~ Step 2. Melt butter in a 12" skillet over low heat.  Add the onion, increase heat to medium-high and saute until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add all of the zucchini. Season with freshly-ground sea salt and pepper (from my mill: 20-30 grinds each).

IMG_0121 IMG_0105~ Step 3. Stir in the fresh dill and continue to saute, stirring constantly like you would a stir-fry, until squash is fork tender but not cooked completely through, about 4-5 minutes.  Do not overcook. Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt and peppercorn blend.

... is fit for a pretentious fish on Friday al fresco dinner too!

IMG_0204Pure & Simple:  Summer Squash (Zucchini) Saute:  Recipe yields 6 generous servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 12" skillet, preferably nonstick; large spoon

IMG_0139Cook's Note:  For anyone looking to cook zucchini a day in advance, or freeze it in a casserole, I am sorry to report: there is none.  Zucchini, like all Summer squash contains too much water for it to fare well on anything other than its intended maiden voyage.  Zucchini is a "use it or lose it" vegetable.  That being said, once you pick it, it will keep quite well in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for 3-4 days!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)


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