Marinated Zucchini Slices
Zucchini, unexpectedly, is a great choice for searing. I learned this quick technique from a Sicilian cook who sears the zucchini and eggplant from her garden, tosses them in a bowl of oil with a touch of vinegar and seasonings and stores them under the oil. When she needed a quick appetizer she’d pull them out of the oil, bring them to room temperature and serve them with bread. These are delicious with fresh mozzarella or ricotta, on pizzas—you name it, and they’ll last refrigerated for up to a month.
2 pounds zucchini (about 3 to 4 medium)
1¼ cups good olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley
1 small clove garlic, cut lengthwise into sixths
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 to 2½-cup mason jar
1. Cut zucchini crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a touch of oil and spread it around with a paper towel. Season several zucchini slices on both sides with salt and black pepper. Lay the slices flat on the skillet, making sure not to overcrowd. Cook the zucchini until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes on the first side, then 3 to 5 minutes on the second side. Transfer to a sheet pan to cool. Repeat with the remaining zucchini slices
3. Make the marinade by combining 1 cup oil, the vinegar, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Gently fold in the zucchini slices into the oil mixture to coat.
4. Clean and dry a canning jar or container fitted with a lid. Lay the zucchini slices in the jar, one layer of zucchini after the next. Occasionally, press the zucchini down to compress and coat them in the oil. Pour the remaining oil mixture over the slices. The oil should cover the last layer of zucchini.
5. To serve remove a few slices, place on a small plate and bring to room temperature. Season the oil on the plate with salt. Serve with toasted bread. Or place a dollop of fresh ricotta that has been season with a generous amount of salt and pepper in the middle of a zucchini slice. Roll it tightly and serve as an amuse-bouche. Serve over pizza, or in an omelet and pasta sauce. Makes 1 about pint zucchini. Adapted from Ensa Titone, the estate cook at Olio Verde in Castelvetrano, Sicily. –Jill Santopietro for The Boston Globe.
(Note: Eggplant or summer squash can be substituted for the zucchini. If using eggplant, place the eggplant slices over a baking rack or colander. Sprinkle the slices on both sides with salt and let rest for 30 minutes to release their water. Pat dry with paper towels and cook as directed. Season lightly with salt.)