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Author Notes: This was a staple in my Italian grandmother's summer kitchen. It's so easy that my mother, who didn't really cook, mastered it. I've made it for as long as I can remember—and I like it so much that I usually make it when the first zucchini appears. It has the added benefit of being a fresh way to use some of those thousands of zucchini that seem to turn up every year. —Antonia AT
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 8-inch zucchini
- 5 large Roma tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- scant handfuls any single fresh herb—basil, oregano, thyme, dill (rosemary's a bit too strong)
- to taste salt and pepper
- 1-2 per person eggs
- Slice vegetables 1/4-inch thick. Smash and roughly mince garlic cloves.
- Toss zucchini with salt in a colander and allow to drain.
- In the meantime, heat olive oil over a medium-low flame in a non-reactive 3-5 quart shallow pot. Cook onion and garlic until transparent. Add tomatoes.
- Rinse zucchini, add to pot and cover with lid. Turn heat down to low and simmer at least 20 minutes. (I've let it cook as long as 2 hours and it's still been super.)
- Mince herbs and stir into zucchini mixture. Grind in salt and pepper to taste.
- Gently slide 1 or 2 eggs per serving into the stew and poach.
- Use a large ladle—to insure the egg yolks don't break—to serve in soup bowls. (I use an old 1-cup hammered steel ladle that I bought about 40 years ago in a Chinese grocery.)
- Serve with crusty bread.
- NOTE: To make this a vegan entree, substitute 1/2-inch cubes of tofu (I use soft) for the eggs.