Those of you who are lucky enough to have a garden are probably up to your ears in zucchini right about now. To those people, I'll just say that I'm considerably envious. My Grandma Burgos used to grow huge plants in her backyard where I would, on occasion, pick off enormous zucchini to bring home to my mom. Garden fresh zucchini is not anything like the supermarket stuff which is always cold and dark solid green with a slightly bitter taste. The zucchini I remember from my Grandmother's garden was nothing like that. Hers was warm from the sun and a yellowish pale green with an almost speckled like pattern. Eating this glorious stuff was always a delight because it was very tender and sweet and only needed a quick steaming and sprinkling of salt and pepper to be delicious.
However, this was back in like, 1997 and zucchini has come a long way since then. I still enjoy simple preparations but honestly, zucchini with Parmesan is my absolute favorite recipe. The zucchini is sauteed in a small batch with olive oil and browned onions. Since you saute in two batches, the pan does not get overcrowded and the zucchini actually browns on the sides which gives them fantastic flavor. If you cook all the zucchini at once, the vegetable gets crowded and steams instead. Still delicious, but not at all the same. I say, be patient with this one and do the two batches thing. You'll be glad you did. The zucchini pictured is not as brown as I normally make because there was a timing issue in the kitchen and I needed to hurry it up. So, don't be afraid to brown it up! When done add some salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and the final dish is out of this world good. I enjoyed this on the side of a nice, grilled piece of wild Copper River Sockeye salmon, but it's great with chicken and steak as well.
Zucchini with Parmesan
adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Family Style, by Ina Garten
serves 6 to 8
8 medium zucchini
Good olive oil
2 large yellow onions cut in half and sliced 1/2 inch thick (half moons)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Remove the ends of the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Slice the zucchini diagonally in 1/2-inch slices.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan and add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat, until they start to brown. Add half the zucchini, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook, tossing occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until just cooked through. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove to a serving platter and repeat with the rest of the zucchini. Serve immediately.