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Posted on Mon, Aug 8, 2011 : 8 a.m.

Romanesco Zucchini - simple recipe lets the flavor of summer squash shine

By Mary Bilyeu


Thomas Boulan, Photographer

There is a particular cooking contest that I've never entered, which encourages gargantuan burgers featuring lots of mix-ins, a sauce or two, toppings, spreads, and all sorts of other nonsense which — to my mind — detracts from the basic beauty of the burger. Good beef, a bit of seasoning, some essential condiments and a sturdy bun are all that's needed.

And so, when zucchini is in season I don't want to see it buried in breads or layered with sauces and cheeses. I love it when it's very simply prepared, letting its flavor shine.

This preparation — involving only a few minutes of sauteeing in garlic and oil, just until the zucchini caramelizes a bit — is ideal for small zucchini which are tender (rather than the overgrown ones which become fibrous).

And if you can find them at the farmers' market, the very best zucchini for this recipe are Romanesco zucchini. Any summer squash — yellow or green — will suffice. But the ridges on the Romanesco make for a beautiful, sunburst-like presentation after slicing. It's worth the hunt for this heirloom variety, I assure you!

Garlic-Sauteed Romanesco Zucchini

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
2 6-inch Romanesco zucchini, ends trimmed,
cut into 1/4-inch slices
pinch of sea salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add zucchini slices in a single layer and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until golden. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then serve.

Serves 1-2.

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Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures in the kitchen. She was thrilled to have her post about Scottish Oatmeal Shortbread named as one of the daily "Best of the Blogs" by the prestigious Food News Journal.

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related. Her newest feature is Frugal Floozie Friday, seeking fun and food for $5 or less ... really! Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here.


Lorraine Gutierrez

Thu, Aug 11, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

also good if you add a little sliced onion to the saute

Mary Bilyeu

Thu, Aug 11, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

Onion would be an excellent addition, you're right!


Mon, Aug 8, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

This looks and sounds delicious. Don't know that I would change a thing. This would be a great summer side dish for so many foods and makes me want to get to the farmers market on Wednesday.

Mary Bilyeu

Mon, Aug 8, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

Hi! I haven't heard from you in ages! There are so many beautiful items at the various markets now ... makes me want to shop and cook and bake ....


Mon, Aug 8, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.

slice zucchini, saute in butter to desired tenderness, remove to serving dish, sprinkle on some parmesean cheese (and sea salt or pepper if desired)

Mary Bilyeu

Mon, Aug 8, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

Sigh ... :)