Zucchini Saute with Toasted Almonds

7.14.10 § 4 Comments

A few nights ago, I was thrown into a panic by the realization that I had four baby zucchini at home that were going to shrivel and die if they didn’t get some attention ASAP.  I’ve recently become really anxious about wastefulness and I’m also overly ambitious on almost every trip to the farmer’s market.  Together, these two things lead to frequent bouts of panic about wasted produce.

Of course, when I’m panicking, the first place I turn is the recipe section of Smitten Kitchen.  “Please Deb, tell me what to do with this zucchini!  And please keep in mind that I’m exhausted and don’t want to put in much effort tonight.”  Deb understands.  She calmly leads me to a group of zucchini recipes, one of which even has the word “quick” in the title.

Recipe in hand, I head home to throw together this dish, resigned to the fact that it probably won’t be anything special.  I wasn’t even planning to blog about it.  As much as I trust Deb, I couldn’t see how such a simple recipe could be blog-worthy (come on, it only has like two real ingredients).  Boy, I was wrong.  After the first bite, curse words flew out of my mouth in surprise.  I should have known better.  I should have known that anything Deb classifies as her “favorite side dish” must be amazing.

I scarfed this down with such enthusiasm that I had to actually remind myself to save a little, mixing it with couscous for the next day’s lunch.  For the record, you might as well go ahead and eat the whole bowl.  It was good in the couscous, but the leftovers definitely paled in comparison to the pure deliciousness of the zucchini almond saute straight out of the pan.

Don’t be thrown off by how simple this is to make.  It’s a dangerously delicious.

Zucchini Saute with Toasted Almonds
adapted from Smitten Kitchen, where it was inspired by the Red Cat (NYC)

2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp thinly sliced almonds
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks with a knife or julienne blade on a mandoline
salt and freshly ground pepper
pecorino romano or parmesan to taste, optional (either grated or very thinly sliced)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot but not yet smoking, add the almonds to the pan.  Cook them, stirring constantly, until they turn golden brown.  This took me about 3 minutes, but watch closely because once they start to brown, they will be ready very quickly.

Add the zucchini to the pan, tossing with oil and almonds until it begins to glisten, about one minute.  You are warming the zucchini more than really cooking it.

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, with or without cheese.

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