Saturday, May 3, 2014

Test Kitchen: Zucchini Hash with Arugula Mint Salsa Verde

I don't have the lengthiest attention span. Usually, I jump from new recipe to new recipe, a culinary globetrotter. Doesn't leave a lot of room for refinement.

Next Saturday I'll be doing a cooking demo at the local farmers' market, thanks in part to this little blog! I've worked in a professional kitchen and I've been demonstrating my recipes online here for a few years. But I haven't done a demo like this, so I want to bring something special.

You can find the final recipe at the bottom of the page, but allow me to take you through the process, with words and pictures.

I started with zucchini and tomatoes. I first made this Zucchini "Pasta" with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes last year, with zucchini ribbons, a traditional pesto, and a creamy lemon sauce.

On my first reworking, I used cherry tomatoes rather than vine-ripe, and I used the julienne setting on my mandoline to slice the zucchini into more noodle-like shapes. I replaced the creamy lemon sauce with a lemon yogurt sauce and opted for an arugula mint pesto, sweetened by honey and spiced by cayenne.

The results? The cherry tomatoes—topped with fresh garlic—were delicious, but I should have roasted them for longer at a lower heat, because they weren't evenly caramelized and had charred a bit at the bottom.

The pesto, which I added to bit by bit in the food processor based on taste tests, was good but its consistency too similar to the yogurt.

The noodles were too moist and could have used more seasoning. Not to say that the dish was a disaster—far from it—but it was easy to see where I could improve and how.

On to test two! I added yellow squash to the mix, still julienning the squashes but squeezing them dry before I cooked them—this time on higher heat with a little lemon pepper, going for a crisper noodle.

I went for slightly larger tomatoes, cutting them into eighths and sprinkling them with garlic powder rather than fresh garlic—mostly because the shape of the wedges made them not as conducive to topping with garlic slivers as the cherry tomatoes were. I tossed the tomatoes completely in oil and rotated the pan in the oven halfway through the roasting process, which ran for about an hour and a half at 250.

I used the same lemon yogurt sauce but instead of the arugula mint pesto, I grabbed some fresh arugula and mint, chopped it up, and mixed in honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and cracked black pepper.

And so we arrive at the final recipe. It's pretty...and pretty tasty.

Zucchini Hash with Arugula Mint Salsa Verde
Yield: 8 appetizer servings


For the zucchini hash:
2 large zucchini, peeled
1 large yellow squash, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the roasted tomatoes:
1 large tomato, cut into eighths
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cracked black pepper

For the lemon yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Zest and juice from one lemon
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Parmesan)

For the salsa verde:

1 cup arugula, minced
1/2 cup mint leaves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
Cracked black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 250. Place tomato wedges on  a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper, and toss tomatoes. Roast for an hour and a half, rotating the pan halfway through, until tomatoes are evenly caramelized.
2. Make the sauces. In two different bowls, combine the ingredients for each sauce. Cover and chill each sauce for thirty minutes.
3. Julienne the zucchini and squash. I used the julienne setting on my mandoline slicer, but you can do it by hand as well. Using a clean towel, squeeze the moisture out of the slices.
4. In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sautée for 2–3 minutes. Add in julienne squashes and cook, flipping often, until the slices are browned and starting to crisp.
5. To plate: Begin with a heaping mound of squash. Top with a dollop of lemon yogurt and a spoonful of the salsa verde. Tomato wedge on the side.

No comments:

Post a Comment