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Zucchini Bake with Salsa Verde

A side dish that’s bursting with flavor and great way to use the abundance of zucchini during summer. This is an adaptation of a Food52 post, adjusting for herbs and ingredients. The sauce is the child of pesto and chimichurri: it’s zingy and fresh, and would go well with zucchini noodles, pasta, bruschetta, sandwiches, fish, and meats (i.e. lamb chops). Make double the amount and serve in the same meal!

Salting the zucchini draws out some moisture and makes for a crispier dish. The original recipe is a gratin, with buttery breadcrumbs soaking up moisture and adding crunch. In this healthier version, tomatillo is added and the breadcrumbs are nixed altogether, so the outcome is less gratin and more baked eggplant parm, except greener…

I skipped the anchovy to keep the dish vegetarian and used olives to for their brininess. I caved in to the dairy monster (cheeeese), using feta and not gruyere. I tell myself I purposely chose the lower-lactose alternative, but in reality, had I had gruyere, I would’ve not hesitated for a second.

Salsa Verde Ingredients: 1 tablespoon thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (1 teaspoon fresh) 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves 1/2 cup fresh cilantro 1 garlic clove 1 tablespoon drained capers (non-salted) 5 pitted kalamata olives 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil juice of 1 lemon Zucchini Bake Ingredients: 1 lb zucchini and/or summer squash (~4 large) kosher salt 4 tomatillos verdes, cut into rounds 1/2 yellow onion, sliced 1 large shallot (or 2 small), sliced 3/4 cup feta cheese (or more as wanted)

Heat your oven to 400°F.

Slice zucchini and squash into 1/8” inch thick coins. Toss thoroughly with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and set aside for at least 10 minutes over a wire mesh. Drain zucchini, and if you have time, spread them on paper towels for a few minutes to further wick away moisture before placing it in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Prepare the salsa verde. Blend herbs, capers, olives and garlic in food processor (or blender) until it forms a paste, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Add lemon juice to taste.

Add sliced onion and shallots, tomatillo rounds, half the feta, salsa verde, and some freshly ground black pepper to the bowl with the zucchini and toss. Transfer to a 9×9-inch baking dish (I used a 9-inch round cast-iron skillet). Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until the squash is tender and edges are crisp. Take out of oven and switch settings to broil, sprinkle remaining feta on top, and broil for 5 minutes until top of feta is slightly brown, taking care not to burn.

Zucchini Bake with Salsa Verde

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