Who doesn't feel overwhelmed by zucchini in the summer? In the blink of an eye, you can suddenly find yourself in possession of half a dozen. People with gardens have been known to "stop by" and leave bagfuls for the unsuspecting. Luckily for the zucchini, it is both versatile and tasty. It can be quickly sautéed with tarragon as a simple side dish, or grated into pasta to deceive your children. Lately, we have been preparing zucchini confit, a preservation technique popular in Provence whereby you submerge the vegetable in olive oil to extend its shelf life and deliciousness. A container of zucchini confit takes up much less space in your refrigerator and is a lovely thing to have on hand. It is a welcome addition to a cheese and olive plate, especially when you want your appetizer to double as your dinner. Spoon it onto a slice of baguette with a bit of parmesan or serve it as an elegant side dish. The next time you are overcome with zucchini and yellow squash, take them home and prepare this confit. In the space of half and hour, your zucchini-related stress will melt into self satisfaction when you are spooning it onto a crusty bread with a lovely glass of rosé. Trust me.
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
Crushed red pepper
2 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, sliced into very thin rounds using a mandoline or blade on a box grater.
1. Heat oil in a wide skillet until hot--shimmering but not smoking. With heat on medium-high, add sliced garlic and two large pinches of crushed red pepper.
2. When garlic begins to turn pale gold, add zucchini slices in a single layer (the slices will inevitably stick together, so do your best to separate them as you add them). Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and sauté on medium-high for a minute or two until the slices begin to curl.
3. Use tongs to turn slices and keep them from steaming into a mush. If there is any zucchini that didn't make it into the first layer, make space in the pan to add the remaining slices.
4. When all of the zucchini are slightly wilted but the edges are bright green, remove from heat and adjust seasoning. Use a rubber spatula to transfer zucchini and remaining oil with garlic slices to a container.