It is always nice to use local fruits and vegetables at this time of the year. Walking through the fruit and vegetable aisles in our local supermarkets, I noticed that the zucchini, both green and yellow, looked particularly appetizing at the moment. They are a perfect side dish for Passover, as if you are not a Sephardi Jew, you are not supposed to eat any legumes during Passover. That immediately eliminates all beans, peas, and peanuts from our Passover meals. Then there were those delicious and juicy grape tomatoes with their bright red coloring. They add so much flavor to a green salad, but they also are delicious when cooked. So , I am going to share a couple of recipes using these delicious ingredients.
This recipe has a secret ingredient – fennel. Typically I am not a fan of fennel because of its strong licorice flavor, but when you cook it, it loses this strong flavor and it adds a subtle, yet delicious flavor to your dish.
Zucchini and Grape Tomato Stir Fry
1 Tbs. Olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion
1 bulb fennel
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
3 medium green zucchini
3 medium yellow zucchini
1/2 lb. grape tomatoes
salt and pepper
Remove the green fronds from the fennel, and also remove the outer ring. Slice the endive into thin slices.
Heat oil in a large frying pan
Peel and thinly slice the onions and add the fennel and onions to the hot oil.
Add the finely chopped garlic.
Cook for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile cut the yellow zucchini down the middle lengthways, and then slice them into 1/8 inch slices and add to onions.
Do the same with the green zucchini and add to the pan.
Season with salt and pepper and keep stirring the veges. from time to time, till they are cooked, but not soft and mushy. They should be slightly crisp or “al dente”.
Wash the grape tomatoes well and slice each tomato in half. Just before the zucchini is cooked add the tomatoes and cook for a further five minutes.
Combine the ingredients carefully so as not to squash the tomatoes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Serve hot and fresh from the pan. If you prepare this dish in advance. Slightly undercook it and place in a serving dish. Cover with foil and keep warm in a low oven or on a blech.
Baked Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
1 package grape tomatoes or mixed cherry tomatoes (different colored ones)
Exta Virgin Oive Oil
2 Tbs. Fresh Basil chopped
Slice the tomatoes in half (lengthways if grape tomatoes or down center if cherry tomatoes) and place in a casserole dish.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.
Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile rinse basil under cold water. Dry thoroughly on paper towels.
Roll the basil up in to a tube like shape and slice into thin strips.
Tear the strips into smaller pieces.
When the tomatoes come out of the oven, sprinkle the basil over them, toss gently, and allow them to sit for 5 minutes so that the flavors can blend.
Serve with any meat or fish dish you make.
“Mini” Zucchini in Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 pack mini zucchini (1/2 lb.) trim ends but keep whole
1 medium onion chopped
2 jalapeños, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the sliced onion and chopped garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to caramelize.
Add the chopped jalapeños and cook 1 – 2 minutes more.
Add the zucchini
Season well with salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 7 minutes stirring from time to time to ensure that neither the onion nor the zucchini burn.
Add the tomato sauce and sugar. Add a little more salt and pepper for flavor. If necessary you may add a 1/4 cup water to thin down the tomato sauce. Heat through and as sauce gets to boiling point, turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for about 10 minutes, turning the zucchini once or twice so they cook through.
Optional: Chop some fresh basil or fresh parsley, and sprinkle over the top before serving.
Roasted Asparagus and Broccolini
1 bunch fresh green asparagus – thin stems
1 packet fresh broccolini
salt and pepper
Soak asparagus and broccolini in cold salt water for 5 minutes.
Break the ends of the asparagus off and lay flat on one side of a baking sheet.
Cut the ends of the broccolini off and place them on the other side of the baking sheet.
Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and the broccolini and season well with kosher salt and pepper.
Toss the vegetables with your hands so that each piece is coated in olive oil and is well seasoned.
Bake in a 350°F oven (I use convection) for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the vegetables.
Delicious with the chicken with apricot dish from my last blog.