Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Simple Stewed Zucchini

Here's another simple and quick vegetable recipe: stewed zucchini. Zucchini is quite versatile. It is quite good quickly sauteed but it's also delicious stewed. That is, cooked in a flavorful liquid. It still cooks fairly quickly. Zucchini is a bit of a chameleon when it comes to flavor. It doesn't have a strong flavor and picks up other flavors, like onions or garlic, readily. One of the nice things about stewed zucchini is that it's just as good reheated, unlike barely sauteed zucchini. You can't really overcook it because it's already cooked until soft.

If you are a novice cook, you may have seen the term "simmer" before  but you may wonder exactly what that is. Simmer is used to describe heating liquids to not quite boiling. The surface of the liquid quietly moves with some small bubbles now and then - no big bubbles and splashing. Simmering is a gentle cooking method used for long cooking, like for spaghetti sauce, or cooking delicate things like fish, or in this recipe, zucchini.

Stewed Zucchini
(serves 4-6, costs $2.50)

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 to 5 medium zucchini, about 1 ½ pounds, sliced about ¼" thick (see Note)
⅔ cup chicken or vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in your palm
¼ - ½ teaspoon salt (depends on the saltiness of your stock)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until edges of onions start to brown. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add zucchini to onions. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring once or twice so they cook evenly. They may start to brown (it depends a lot on how much moisture there is in the zucchini), which is OK. Add the stock, crushed oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, uncovered, until most of the stock has evaporated. Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve.

Note: Any summer squash, such as yellow squash, can be used. Or mix yellow and green. You will find it easier to slice the zucchini if you cut it in ½ lengthwise, put the flat side down, then slice it.

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