Gardening season is officially over here. I’m not complaining – our first frost date is September 22, so to be able to go well into October without a killing frost is nice.
We cleaned up the garden, pulling out all the spent plants and putting away the gardening equipment. This is our last chance for fresh produce, and pulling out the plants helps us find things we’d missed. (Like the baseball bat sized zucchini!)
One of the little prizes I found was a large handful of baby zucchini. These squashes were all between four and seven inches long, and the largest was no more than the width of my fingers in thickness.
What to do with them?
I have a basic philosophy about cooking with fresh-picked vegetables: the fresher something is, the more innate flavour it has on its own. Therefore, I like seasoning really fresh produce as little as possible, so that its own flavour can stand out. (That is, I can’t imagine smothering something in layers of cheese and sauce.) My summer cooking, when we have food from our garden and the farmers’ market, tends to be very simple for this reason.
So, I picked a simple cooking method for these tiny zucchini. If you’d like to make this too, you’ll need:
* 6-8 small baby zucchini (4-7 inches long, no more than an inch in diameter)
* minced garlic (about 1 clove; I used organic prepared garlic for this)
* olive oil
* salt and fresh ground pepper
Wash the zucchini and halve them lengthwise. Add 1-2 TB of olive oil to a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic.
Once the oil is hot (watch that the garlic doesn’t burn!), place the zucchini cut side down in the pan. Fry for about 4 or 5 minutes, until the bottoms have just started to turn a nice golden colour.
Flip the zucchini onto their “backs” and finish cooking through, until just tender. Don’t overcook them so they get mushy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the cooked zucchini to a serving plate and cover with oil and garlic from the pan.
I would imagine that a bit of fresh grated Parmesan would have gone great with this as well, but we were fresh out!