Monday, September 5, 2011

Zucchini Season

I have been resisting Zucchini Season. Once it begins, it feels like a forced march - zucchinis everywhere, offered free by friends, left like orphaned babies at your doorstep in the dark of the night, on special at the supermarket. All those zucchinis, begging to be made into something. So much need. It's enough to make me retreat to bed with a good book, even when I'm not growing them myself.

This week at the farmer's market, I finally succumbed to Zucchini Season. My Beloved found four absolutely beautiful, medium-sized, dark green and bright yellow summer squashes, plus a nice bright red bell pepper and a couple of tomatoes, so we brought them home to make barbouille, which may or may not be a classic dish. I sort of invented it many years ago in Zucchini Season. I keep coming back to it because neither My Beloved nor I like eggplant, so the other most common Zucchini Season dish, ratatouille, is not in our kitchen vocabulary.

Barbouille is like ratatouille without the eggplant. I cut up onions in spears through the root end, which makes them mysteriously sweeter than chopping, mince a few (or sometimes several) cloves of garlic, sautéing them in olive oil, then add slices of bright summer squashes, coarsely chopped bell pepper and tomato, and a glug of white wine of some kind, plus herbs.

I often use thyme and oregano from the garden but sometimes I'm too lazy to saunter out to the front steps, so I just sprinkle in some dried Herbes de Provence, s & p, cover and let it simmer for at least half an hour. If the squashes and tomatoes are very juicy, you can lift the cover for the last 20 minutes or so to concentrate the pan juices. It's better if you cook this one day and eat it the next day, but even the first day, it's delicious. You can serve it over rice or pasta, or simply scoop it into bowls and eat it plain. You can also grate some cheese over it if you want but I like it just the way it comes from the pan. This time, I added some of the bright yellow flowers from the wild fennel plant that is volunteering outside my front door for a little sweet licorice kick.

When you succumb to Zucchini Season, I can recommend barbouille as an alternative to hiding in your bed.



Blogger namastenancy said...

I now have a new word for my food vocabulary. I do like zucchini and one of my favorite ways to fix it is a zucchini fritatta with the addition of whatever vegetables that take my fancy.

Monday, September 05, 2011  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I do love this photo!

Monday, September 05, 2011  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

Do I need to renew my marijuana card about this picture? Okay, I give up. Yes Zucchini will make you blind.

P.S. My word verification is lamed. I will be lamed after focusing on this shot.

Monday, September 05, 2011  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

I did not know that onion slicing trick. Must try it.

Monday, September 05, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, that's a quick and easy meal, always delish.

Cookiecrumb, I love it, too, but Chilebrown disapproves.

Chilebrown, look to the lower right corner - it makes sense, then.

Ms Mouse, let me know what you think. I can't recall where I learned it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011  
Blogger Greg said...

The dish sounds splendid but I too seek clarity on the photo. Our zucc crop this year is crazy. We get nice small firm zuccs, perfect for grilling or salad. No giant club like creatures.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, the lower right corner of the photo is where the reference point is - the picture is of the dish taken through the glass lid of my largest pan, when the steam of heating just begins to cloud the lid. I thought it was very artful. :-)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

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