It’s September and I’m ready to pull my slow cooker out of the pantry and rev it up. That is, as soon as temperatures in the Midwest dip below 90 degrees, which won’t happen until later this week. Sigh.
In the meantime, here’s a salad that celebrates the season’s last garden-fresh tomatoes along with grilled zucchini slices. The idea comes from the Sunday New York Times Magazine, in which Mark Bittman calls zucchini “summer’s most underloved vegetable” and then proceeds to give it its due by offering 12 zucchini recipes.
This is the easiest of the bunch: slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and layer them in a serving dish with torn basil leaves. Slice zucchini, spritz them with olive oil, add salt and pepper and grill them lightly. Add them to the dish and top everything with a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or your own light salad dressing (Trader Joe’s has some great ones).
If you’re not a zucchini lover, what about grilled asparagus? Or neither. A simple tomato mozzarella salad with fresh basil is about as classic as it gets, requiring no further embellishment.
But do consider adding the zucchini, simply because it frees you from having to prepare another vegetable to round out the main meal. With chicken piccata, our dinner was complete.