Roasted Parmesan Zucchini (with some Salmon and Spinach)

Zucchini squash was always one of my favorite things to eat growing up.  My parents always had a garden, and there would always be plenty of yellow crook-neck squash and the dark green zucchini. Our normal way to eat them back then was to cut them into strips, roll them in seasoned flour, and deep-fry them – because honestly, that’s the go-to way of cooking anything here in the South.  As an adult, I’ve discovered that I want to try and live past the age of 50, so I’ve generally nixed the deep-fry method — but that’s no reason to stop eating zucchini.  This method takes is much healthier than frying but is even more flavorful – and doesn’t take much time at all.

Roasted Parmesan Zucchini

  • 1 small zucchini squash per person
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese per zucchini
  • Salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence

Cut the ends off of each zucchini and slice in half longways.  Salt and pepper each half.  Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet and brown the zucchini pieces – about five minutes on each side.  You can use your best judgment about how brown you’d like your zucchini to be; I prefer mine with a nice, browned crust on the top like the picture at the right.  Remove the zucchini to an oven safe dish and top with the Parmesan cheese and herbs.  Broil the zucchini halves for 5-7 minutes until the cheese is nice and browned on top.  For a gooier, not-quite-as-healthy version, mix a bit of mozzarella in with the Parmesan before you broil.

This zucchini can make an excellent side vegetable to pretty much any dinner – soup, steak, or as we’ve served it here, with grilled salmon and spinach sauteed with shallots in a little bit of truffle butter.  The olive oil really brings out the flavor of the zucchini, and the nutty flavor and chewy texture of the Parmesan really adds a very delicious element to a vegetable that is often neglected.  This has become our preferred method of eating zucchini, and since summertime is right around the corner, the farmers’ markets are going to be filled with the item fresh and ready to go. Enjoy!

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