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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
large Roma tomatoes
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
tablespoons kosher salt
handfuls any single fresh herb—basil, oregano, thyme, dill (rosemary's a bit too strong)
salt and pepper
1-2 per person
- 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.