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While I am probably the only person this side of Russia who has not been able to grow a single zucchini this year, I am aware that not everyone has this problem. My friend Amanda stopped by the other day and begged me for an idea of what to do with her bounty. (Sheesh… just rub it in, will you?) I immediately pointed her to this recipe and then realized that while I’ve made it several times, I’ve never shared it with you! Shame, shame.
The key to success in this recipe is to NOT overcook the zucchini. If it turns to mush, it is unpleasant. You want it browned but still with some bite to it. Toast the walnuts until they have a slight aroma. Do not let them burn. I prefer to use a mixture of oregano, sage, and thyme for my herbs and follow Cook’s Illustrated’s recommendation to half the amount of herbs since these are so potent. Yum!
zucchini with walnuts and fresh herbs
A note from Cook’s Illustrated: Salt causes zucchini rounds to release excess water. This important extra step helps the zucchini to sauté rather than stew in its own juices. Quarter-inch slices are the perfect thickness. Thinner slices fall apart during cooking; thicker slices require a longer salting time. If you want to use more intense herbs such as oregano, thyme, or rosemary, halve the amount of herbs indicated in the recipe. If you do not have kosher salt on hand, use a teaspoon or so of regular table salt.
4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/3 pounds), rinsed, trimmed, and sliced crosswise into rounds about 1/4″ thick
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion or 2 large shallots, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh herbs (see note)
2 tbsp toasted, chopped walnuts
ground black pepper
Place zucchini slices in colander and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt. Set colander over bowl until about 1/3 cup water drains from zucchini, about 30 minutes. Rinse and thoroughly dry zucchini.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions or shallots; sauté until almost softened, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add zucchini and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in walnuts and herbs, and season with pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.