Sweet & Sour Zucchini, Cherry Tomato & Olive Antipasti
So this evening, knowing I was going to love my little appetizer... and having a large appetite for it, I decided to skip the main dish and just enjoy an ample serving of the starter... and wonderfully tasty it was too!
This may not exactly be a traditional dish, but the ingredients and indeed the combination of flavors is very typically Sicilian. To make this, I used 2 of those small, round zucchini, 7-8 cherry tomatoes, a couple of spring onions and a handful of sliced olives. The herbs and spices I used were rosemary, fennel seeds, oregano, garlic, chives, mint and parsley... and the way I went about preparing it was something like this...
I started off, obviously, with the zucchini, as they are the only ingredient that actually needs cooking- when cut in this thickness anyway. I got a little olive oil nice and hot in my frying pan and then added the zucchini slices, the olives, the fennel seeds and the garlic.
Sautée the zucchini slices at a high heat and get busy chopping all the herbs up finely whilst they are browning... there is plenty of moisture in zucchini, so you won't need too much oil and it will take 4-5 minutes to get some good color into them. After 2-3 minutes, add the rosemary, as it is the most robust of the herbs and will both stand up to the heat better and give the dish more of it's aroma than the other more delicate herbs.
But after 4-5 minutes, it will indeed be time to add the tomatoes and all of the additional herbs and the onion. Season with salt and pepper and sautée for 2-3 minutes, then gave everything a nice, generous trickle of honey. Turn off the heat and continue stirring... the honey will brown very quickly and you don't want it to burn!
Turn the vegetables out onto your serving dish and add a good trickle of balsamic vinegar and a last sprinkle of salt. A few freshly chopped chives will bring a nice touch of freshness... and a couple of slices of ciabatta are all you need to enjoy this great sweet and sour dish! Oh- those yummy juices! Buon apetito indeed!