If you have a vegetable garden, chances are that your produce drawer is overflowing with zucchini right now.
Simply grilled zucchini, sliced thickly and dressed with good olive oil and coarse salt is a treat, until it isn’t. As the season nears its end, this simple sauce adds some interest. It keeps well in the fridge and can be used on other vegetables. I am imagining roasted cauliflower or green beans in the future.
I whipped up a double batch to have on hand.
Grilled zucchini with spicy gochujang sauce
Note: I used to cut the zucchini into thin slices, about 1/4 inch. I found I prefer a thicker slice which retains some bite when cooked. But you can decide this based on your preference.
Spicy Gochujang Sauce for Vegetables:
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari, regular or low salt
- 1 tablespoon of seasoned rice wine vinegar (or 1 tablespoon of regular rice wine vinegar + 2 teaspoons of brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
- splash of orange juice
- 4 or 5 zucchini, cut into thick slices
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- Fried shallots or onions for garnish
- Cut the zucchini into 1/2-inch strips, place in a colander with 1 teaspoon of salt, and mix until the salt covers each slice. Leave in the sink while you prepare the sauce. After 15 minutes I lay the zucchini on paper towels or a clean tea cloth and blot it dry. There is no need to rinse.
- Grate the garlic or pulse until finely chopped in a mini food processor
- Add the other ingredients, whisking to mix or pulse them all with the garlic
- Add a bit more orange juice if needed to make a thick but pourable sauce
- Grill the zucchini or cook stovetop with a bit of olive oil
- Arrange on a platter, drizzle the sauce over, and sprinkle with fried shallots or onions
I use these shallots quite often as a garnish. You can purchase them online.
Grilled zucchini with spicy gochujang sauce
I’ve made these zucchini cakes or fritters several time, they are a big hit each time. They could be the center of a vegetarian meal if you add another grilled vegetable (maybe more zucchini), avocado, and/or a scoop of ricotta or goat’s cheese.
You can cook them in your air fryer or in the oven, both ways turn out wonderfully. I recommend you cook them on a rack if using the oven. Or, preheat your sheet pan before adding the fritters. By cooking them in the oven or air fryer you reduce the amount of fat to a bare minimum.
Zucchini Cakes or Fritters
- 2 large zucchini
- optional: 2 zucchini flowers if available, thinly sliced
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, I used gluten free panko
- 1/2 cup of ricotta
- 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 4 scallions, light green and white parts, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
- Oven: Preheat to 425 degrees F. If using a rack, line your sheet pan with parchment paper. If not, place your unlined sheet pan in the oven to preheat with the oven and grease it lightly with olive oil before placing the fritters on the pan.
- Air Fryer: Follow the manufacturers directions. If recommended (mine does not need preheating) preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Place the grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much excess liquid as possible. You can work in batches if needed. You can save the juice as it makes an excellent stock or soup base.
- In a large bowl, combine the grated zucchini, zucchini flowers, bread crumbs, ricotta, Parmesan, garlic, scallions and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using your hands, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture and flatten into a patty. Place on the air fryer rack or baking rack or directly on the oiled sheet pan, space the patties about 1 inch apart.
- Brush the patties lightly with olive oil. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
- Sprinkle with more salt before serving. Chives are also nice if you have some.
I think zucchini flowers are amazingly beautiful and they can be very strange. This one looks like an alien creature.
Adding the zucchini flowers to the fritters was an idea from Irene of the blog My Slice of Mexico, thank you Irene.
I’m taking these to share with Angie over at Fiesta Friday #398. Come on over to see all the amazing ideas for recipes, gardening and crafting. This week the cohost is Diann @ Of Goats and Greens
Have a wonderful weekend.
This is the perfect side dish to serve when you are trying to decide what to do with yet another harvest of zucchini and summer tomatoes.
zucchini, tomato and rice gratin
It is also a vegetarian main dish (that’s how we had it) with a big green salad. But you could also serve it as a side dish at a summer BBQ or as a seasonal breakfast dish with a poached or fried egg on top.
If you have the zucchini and tomatoes available, the rest of ingredients are standard pantry staples. I used brown rice but white rice would work perfectly as well. If you have some leftover rice from dinner earlier the week, this comes together quite easily.
I want to make a note about salt. Not all salts are the same. I use almost exclusively Diamond kosher salt in cooking. It doesn’t have any additives or anti caking agents. The grains are slightly larger so I would use more of it in a recipe calling for fine sea salt or regular table salt or even another brand of kosher salt. The amounts in the recipe are designed for Diamond kosher salt (yes, as one commenter reminded me, there is a difference in the grain sizes of kosher salts. Morton brand kosher salt grains are smaller). If you are using another type, please use less and taste, taste, taste. You can always add more later but an over-salted dish is difficult to reclaim.
Zucchini, tomato and rice gratin
serves 4-6 as a side dish
- 1/3 cup of uncooked rice, cooked and cooled
- 5 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs zucchini, 3-4 medium, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4-5 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, divided in half
- Heat your oven to 450 degrees F. Cook your rice by you favorite method.
- Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly coat them with olive oil. Spread the zucchini slices on one sheet and the tomato slices on the other, trying to not overlap the slices. Sprinkle each with salt and a few grinds of pepper.
- Roast the tomatoes and zucchini for 10 minutes and remove the tomatoes from the oven. Flip the zucchini slices and return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the pan. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the onions are limp and tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Grease a shallow medium casserole dish (about 2 quart size) with a tablespoon of olive oil.
- In a bowl combine the onion mixture, rice, eggs, spices, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, and half the parmesan.
- Spread half the rice mixture in the bottom of the casserole, cover with half the zucchini, spread the remaining rice on top, then the rest of the zucchini, finish with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. I was a little generous with the parmesan on top.
- Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. I found the best browning is on the shelf near the top of my oven.
zucchini, tomato and rice
This recipe was inspired from one in the the blog Smitten Kitchen, I have made my own modifications. It was originally published by SK in 2012; she adapted it from a recipe published in Gourmet in 2008. But it really feels like came from a small provincial kitchen in Italy or France. Don’t make it too fancy, it should be rustic.