Sunday, 7 April 2013

Round and Round and Round Again

Zucchine Tonde Gratinate con Pomodorini & Menta
Round Zucchini Slices with Herb & Parmesan Breadcrumbs & Cocktail Tomatoes

Zucchini is fine, it's a nice vegetable- a little bland but ok... right? Well- maybe. The truth of the matter is that you need to know how to handle it's sweet and mild flavor to make the most of it. But you need to do that a little less with the round zucchini if you ask me, which has much more flavor than the straight ones. And again- the straight ones are fine... but given the choice I would chose the round variety every time!

And something that I really like to use in combination with zucchini is mint, which I think really compliments it's mild flavor well... but then again, being Sicilian, I would say that, wouldn't I? It is one of our favorite combinations and one you will really love in a light Springtime dish like this one. Teamed with salty parmesan and crispy bread crumbs, it transformed my humble little zucchini into something special this evening. Care to find out how? Well be my guest!

To make the bread crumb topping, I finely chopped parsley and mint- just a small handful of each to prepare this one, single zucchini, which was roughly the size of a grapefruit. To the herbs I added 4 tablespoons of crumbs and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan. I seasoned them with salt, pepper and nutmeg and drizzled them lightly with olive oil, then mixed everything together well and sighed- so easy! Ha! Well, I needed something else to do- so I turned on the stove and got my frying pan nice and hot, ready for the zucchini...

I cut the zucchini into 4 nice thick slices and fried them in just a touch of olive oil for a couple of minutes from each side. I added a couple of slices of garlic to the pan for extra flavor and seasoned the zucchini with salt and pepper. After 2-3 minutes cooking on each side, the zucchini was slightly transparent but still had plenty of bite and at this point I set it to one side to cool and then added the cocktail tomatoes to the hot pan. I cut off each end first of all and then sliced them in half- that way they would lied down flat in the pan... and later on the zucchini. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and flash-fried them for just a minute from each side, then out they came too... time for assembly had arrived!

I spooned a tablespoonful of the crumb/herb/cheese mix onto each zucchini slice and then placed the tomato slices on top and added a little extra parmesan and a light drizzle of olive oil before kissing them goodbye for 3-4 minutes under the broiler at a moderate heat. With a mint leaf or two as a garnish, these were wonderfully light but tasty side dishes or appetizers... or, if you were to eat the whole lot, like I did, a great, light evening meal! The crispy topping is a great contrast to the juicy tomato and zucchini and the freshness of the mint just makes all of the other flavors pop! Nothing bland about these guys here- these are zucchini to enjoy!

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