I recently asked good friend and excellent cook Suzi for an easy, healthy summer recipe and she instantly mentioned this zucchini sauté, which she found on Deb Perelman’s blog, Smitten Kitchen. Deb writes that the original recipe came from the Red Cat restaurant in New York. It’s her favorite side dish and it takes only five minutes to make. ( I think Deb’s exaggerating, though. It doesn’t take that long. )
This is bare-bones cooking — zucchini, sliced almonds, olive oil and Parmesan. How could a mere four ingredients come together in such an inspired way? My guess is the preparation: you sauté the sliced almonds until they’re nicely browned and toasted, and you cut the zucchini into julienned matchsticks so that it barely needs any cooking at all. This is a crucial part of the recipe — you don’t want to actually cook the zucchini but just heat it so that it doesn’t become mushy and release a lot of liquid.
It may not sound like much, but once you’ve made it you’ll realize why it’s become legendary. It’s what simple, fabulous cooking is all about. It will make you feel like a chef! A Red Cat chef!
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced almonds
1 to 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/8″ matchsticks with a knife or julienned on a mandoline slicer
Salt and pepper
Several shavings of Parmesan cheese (use a vegetable peeler for this)
Heat oil on high in a nonstick skillet. When it’s hot but not smoking, add almonds. Cook them, while stirring, until they are golden brown, about one to two minutes.
Add zucchini to pan and toss with the oil and almonds just until zucchini begin to glisten, about one minute. Be careful not to overcook the zucchini. You just want to heat it up.
Place in a serving bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and top with Parmesan shavings.
WW PP per serving: 3