Sautéed Zucchini with Mint, Basil, and Walnuts

By • June 27, 2014 • 11 Comments

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Author Notes: Adapted ever-so-slightly from Deborah Madison's always reliable "Vegetable Literacy."Marian Bull

Serves 4 as a small side, or 2 as a meal.

  • 1 pound zucchini (or any summer squash), sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 small cloves garlic
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts or pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Additional mint and basil, torn, to garnish
  • Ricotta and your favorite bread (optional, for serving)
  1. Heat half of your olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add half the zucchini and sauté, flipping and turning every few minutes, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Don't salt them yet!
  2. While your zucchini cooks, chop together the garlic, mint, basil, and capers so that they intermingle and turn into a sort of knife pesto.
  3. When the zucchini is golden, remove it from the pan and cook the remaining zucchini in the remaining oil, just as you did the first batch. Then add the first batch back into the pan, along with the herb-garlic mixture and the vinegar, to taste. Taste for salt; add a good pinch, plus a few cracks of pepper. Toss well.
  4. Scoop everything out onto a serving plate. Right before serving, sprinkle on the nuts and extra herbs as a garnish. I like to carve out a corner of my serving dish, dollop on a big pile of ricotta, and serve everything together with thick slices of crusty bread. It also makes for some mean crostini.
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4 months ago Hannah

This is pure genius! Made it and was asked to "make enough for six people to eat everyday, three times a day, for a week" next time I make it. I followed the recipe almost to the letter, but used lemon juice instead of vinegar and a bit more basil.
The only slight caveat I would mention is that I used the biggest pan I had and still had to do the zucchini in three batches, so that took a while. But I didn't really mind and it was totally worth it.

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Wow, so happy to hear this! I haven't stopped making it since I first wrote about it. And yes, I think that sometimes three batches is necessary, especially depending on the thickness and width of your slices.

Astafford

5 months ago Alexandra Stafford

This is SO delicious! I have made this two nights in a row, and I am picking up my next CSA this afternoon, so I will be making it again tonight. My cousin emailed me the recipe about a week ago, and she described it as her new favorite recipe. I've been eating it just as you suggest — with ricotta and my favorite bread. I could eat this meal all summer. The knife pesto is too good!

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

I *have* been eating it all summer -- so happy you are enjoying it, too! xx

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6 months ago LauriL

You paint a good tale! Def. try this with "the knife pesto" !!

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

It's awesome! xx

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6 months ago Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

Marian and all - Would you use this recipe for eggplant?

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6 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Yes! In the book, Deborah says this recipe works very well with eggplant, though I haven't tried it yet.

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6 months ago John Simmons

Thanks Marian I will give it a try.

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6 months ago John Simmons

That looks so good, just a quick question do you think it would work as well with truffle oil instead of olive oil? I buy mine from here http://www.trufflehunter... I have been looking around for inspirations..

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6 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

I think you could try drizzling a bit of it on top, to finish! I wouldn't suggest sautéeing the zucchini in olive oil, though -- it would overpower the dish, and I'm not sure about cooking truffle oil at high heats. If you do use it to drizzle, you could also play around with other herbs, too -- like thyme, or a teeny bit of fresh oregano, etc. Let me know if you do!