I had heard that the Southern Italians sun-dried their zucchini, and then either put them up in jars covered in olive oil, or sauteed them as a side dish.
I never did find a recipe, so this one is entirely mine. I think it works pretty well, and will be making this all summer long — it’s a textural thing: The dried zucchini concentrate what flavor they have, and with less water, become meatier — if I had to serve a vegan, this would be on the menu.
Use a dehydrator if you are in a moist climate, but here in Sacramento I just strung these on skewers and let them dry in our blazing hot garage for 36 hours.
- 4 zucchini
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or espellette pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
- Juice of half a lemon
- Slice zucchini into disks about 1/4 inch thick.
- Sprinkle salt on a large cookie sheet or two, then lay the zucchini on them. Sprinkle more salt on top. Leave at room temperature for no more than an hour — the longer you go, the saltier the zucchini will be. If you plan on preserving these in jars, go the full hour.
- Pat dry with a towel and skewer. Hang the zucchini in a hot dry place for 24-48 hours, depending on the temperature. You want them to be dry, but not hard. Think soft dried apricots…
- Once dried like this, they can be stored in jars, covered in olive oil, for months in the fridge.
- When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat until almost smoking. Add the zucchini rounds and toss to coat with oil. Turn the heat down to medium-high and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes.
- In the final minute, add the cayenne and toss to combine, then do the same with the mint. Turn off the heat.
- Squeeze the lemon juice on the zucchini when you are ready to serve.
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