It might be the end of autumn but certain plants in the garden are only now coming to the end of their season.. The zucchini plants I grew this past six months have not disappointed us in terms of fresh food and abundance.
One of our favourite ways of enjoying zucchini is in the form of a ridge grilled collation. All words evoke certain emotions and meanings. The word “salad” for me, evokes light, airy fairy stuff and not much substance. This is how this word translates in my mind’s eye. Zucchini on the ridge grill is technically a salad so to speak but this delicious dish can be the foundation of a meal. We tend to enjoy the Mediterranean style cooking in our household due to my ancestral heritage. Meat is rarely served in our house as the foundations of our meals are based on legumes and vegetables as the main feature with meat only enjoying the occasional side focal point. Zucchini is a versatile vegetable and fits in with our culinary tastes in a big way.
I grew three types of zucchini this year and two varieties in particular produced an abundance.
You can slice the zucchini cross ways if they are larger than usual or length ways if they are slender. I prefer to harvest smaller sized zucchini but sometimes a beast gets out of control and I only find it when moving leaves around. I am allergic to touching zucchini plants so I use a stick for this job. Today was a fortunate day for me as it was a “slender” zucchini day with no concealed monsters to harvest, seeing this is the last pick for this long season. If you do end up with a large zucchini, read up another blog about how to turn it into a delicious tomato based sauce which you can freeze.
Combine around 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and some herbs. Here I have used some dried oregano and marjoram from the garden, along with a tiny dried chilli – all crushed together into a useful blend. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat up the ridge grill. Brush the oil/herb mixture over the zucchini slices and drop them onto the grill. Don’t brush the grill at all, just the zucchini slices. The ridge grill should be hot enough so that the zucchini slices sizzle upon contact.
Cook the slices until they are softened on one side and have nice ridge grill markings embedded into their flesh – more added flavour. Turn over and cook for a few minutes more until soft but not squishy, mind you. You can grill the zucchini until it is al dente. The choice is yours to make.
I finished up this grilling session by slicing up some Haloumi cheese and grilling that as well. This cheese holds up nicely to grilling. Layer up the Haloumi and slices on a platter. Drizzle over some white balsamic glaze to finish. The semi sweet/vinegary taste of the glaze is lovely on the sweet flesh base of zucchini. Serve warm. Delicious the next day of course, on a slice of toasted up Ciabatta bread or even in a sandwich. An excellent adjunct to stinking heatwave days when you don’t want to heat up the house further with cooking. Grilled vegetable platters are the way to go during such weather. At this cooler time of the year though, I also enjoy this salad as a generous pavement on some home made pizza.
Buon appetito is all I can say.