Grilled Zucchini with Pumpkin Seed Romesco and Crostini

We are heading into the time of year when zucchini becomes the front runner of produce – bursting from backyard gardens and farmers’ fields.

With its versatile use, from raw salads to baked casseroles, zucchini offers a lot. One of my favorite preparations/cooking methods for zucchini is grilling. Getting those nice grill marks lends a depth of flavor that you don’t normally get when sauteing or baking.

For this recipe, another drought friendly one, Super Sous and I are grilling the zucchini and serving them with crositini and pumpkin seed romesco. Romesco is a sauce often made with almonds, but since the drought, we are exploring alternative nut/seed options, which makes pumpkin seeds, which take little water to produce, a great alternative. Taste wise, you won’t miss the almonds and price wise you’ll be happy too!

Enjoy this recipe and let us know what you think. Happy cooking!

Zucc slice

1/4-inch slices

Zucc Grilled

On the grill

Zucc and Crostini

Grilled crostini and zucchini

Zucc Final Crostini

Grilled Zucchini with Pumpkin Seed Romesco and Crostini

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

 

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

4 medium-sized zucchini, sliced lengthwise in ¼-inch slices using a mandoline or vegetable peeler

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 lemon, cut in half

Homemade Grilled Crostini (recipe below)

Pumpkin Seed Romesco (recipe below)

6 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and sliced very thinly (chiffonade)

 

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in grapeseed oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil over the sliced zucchini. Using your hands, coat each piece evenly with the oil; season with salt and pepper. Taste a piece to see if it needs more seasoning, adding more to taste.

Grill the zucchini with the cover closed until nicely colored, 5 minutes per side. Do not move the zucchini slices for the first few minutes.

Once nicely caramelized, flip each piece and continue cooking until equally caramelized on the second side. Put your lemon, flesh side down, on the grill now.

Transfer the cooked zucchini and grilled lemon onto a plate until ready to assemble. Once the lemon is cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice over the zucchini.

To serve, top the crostini with some romesco sauce and then a few slices of the grilled zucchini, finish with the basil.

 

Homemade Grilled Crostini

1 loaf fresh bread, such as French baguette, sourdough, or ciabatta

Grapeseed oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Set your grill to high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in grapeseed oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Using a bread knife, slice the loaf on a 25- to 45-degree angle (the greater the angle, the higher the surface area) half an inch thick.

Lay each piece, side by side, on the sheet pan in one layer, drizzle grapeseed oil over each piece, then season them evenly with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Arrange the slices on the grill and grill until lightly toasted with grill marks.

Flip the pieces and repeat.

Remove from the oven and transfer the crostini to a plate until needed.

Note: If using a round loaf of bread, be sure to cut the loaf in half first. Then, with the flat (cut) side facing down, starting from one side, cut straight down, making even slices. This method of slicing bread will prevent your slices from being smushed as you slice them.

 

Pumpkin Seed Romesco Sauce

Yield: 2 cups

 

5 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon red chile flakes

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes

1 roasted red bell pepper, diced medium

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

2¼ teaspoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup grapeseed oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and the onion to a medium sauté pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the garlic, chile flakes and paprika, stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and bell pepper, stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost all reduced, approximately, 7 to 10 minutes.

Carefully transfer ingredients from sauté pan to a food processor and add the pumpkin seeds and sherry vinegar.

Process until well combined, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed.

While processing, begin slowly streaming in the grapeseed oil. Continue until is combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drought Friendly Elote: Mexican-style Grilled Corn

OMG. This recipe is so delicious. Need proof? Super Sous and I grilled 7 ears of corn when developing this recipe and devoured them all within 15 minutes. In fact, Super Sous exclaimed, “this is the best grilled corn dish I’ve ever had!” when all was said and gone, I mean done.

Elote or the Mexican-style street food version of corn is common to see here, being sold, in LA. Vendors in parks or on street corners set up camp with their makeshift grills, tub of mayonnaise, chili powder and cojita cheese, serving the sweet and savory cobs to eager customers.  It’s pretty fantastic; a pleasure on the taste buds.

Since Super Sous and I have been creating Drought Friendly Recipes, we realized that we could still enjoy this creamy crunchy corn on the cob, sans egg and cheese by doing a swap out with soymilk aioli (aioli is normally made with an egg, but soymilk acts as an emulsifier) and using a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for the cheesy creaminess. Add to that a special spice mix blend we created (take that, chili powder!) and fresh chopped cilantro and you have a winner.

This recipe serves 12, but you may need to double or triple the batch. Trust us. It’s addictive.

 

corn shucked

Shucked corn with one layer of husk left

corn grilled

Grilled corn

Drought Friendly Aioli

Vegan Aioli

Elote with Aioli

Slathering on the aioli

Elote finished

Time to dig in

Drought Friendly Elote: Mexican-style Grilled Corn

Yield: 12 servings

 

12 ears of corn, whole and unshucked

Vegan Aioli (recipe below)

Elote Spice Mix (recipe below)

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 cup packed roughly chopped cilantro

 

Preheat your grill to medium-high.

Shuck the corn, leaving 1 layer of husk covering the cob. Cut off the silk at top of corn.

Place the corn on the grill, close the lid, and grill for a total of 15 minutes, rotating the corn ⅓ turn every 5 minutes, until the corn is cooked and the husks are slightly charred.

Remove the corn from the grill, carefully shuck the corn (hot!). Brush with aioli, sprinkle some of the spice mix and yeast on the corn and top with cilantro.

Serve, enjoy, repeat.

 

Drought Friendly Vegan Aioli

Yield: 1 cup

 

1 large clove garlic, pressed (1/4 teaspoon)

3½ teaspoons lime juice

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup organic soy milk

2/3 cup organic grapeseed oil

 

Mix all ingredients except oil in a small container or bowl with high sides. (I used the glass container that goes with my French Press.

Using an immersion blender, blend all ingredients thoroughly.

Keep the immersion blender a bit raised in the container, to where the liquid is churning vigorously. Slowly stream the oil into the vortex of the churning liquid. Don’t rush this step. The slower the oil stream, the better. The liquid will thicken and form to the consistency of mayonnaise. Refrigerate until use.

 

Elote Spice Mix

1 tablespoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon chipotle powder

1¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

 

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Before you put away your grill for the Winter, here’s a recipe that will put dinner on the table in a flash. It’s my Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri featured in this month’s Paleo Magazine – Page 16! And for those of you who have my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, you can find this recipe on page 180.

LyonGrilledSkirtSteakwithChimichurri

Grilled Spiced Okra

Last Sunday, I found some beautiful okra at the Hollywood Farmers Market, so I decided to make a quick meal of it – and I’m glad I did! It was flavorful, spicy, bright and there was none of that okra slime that can occur! I used my grill pan because it was actually cooler in my (un-airconditioned) kitchen than it was outside, but you could also throw these on the grill. Either way, just make sure you eat them right away while they are still a bit crisp and hot off the grill.

Grilled Spiced Okra

 

Grilled Spiced Okra

Yield: 2 servings

 

½ pound okra, washed and dried

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground fennel

1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ lemon

 

Heat a grill pan over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until very hot.

In a medium bowl, mix to combine the okra with the olive oil, cumin, fennel, chipotle, salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Place on the grill pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on one side, until grill marks are acheived. Do not stir. Flip the okra to cook on the opposite side for an additional 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove from grill pan. Squeeze lemon juice over the okra and serve immediately.

Steak with Chimichurri

It’s summer. Lattes are being put over ice. Sunscreen is slathered on. And all around the country, grills are fired up and rearing to go.

This past Saturday, my recipe for steak with chimichurri sauce that aired on Growing a Greener World (my PBS show). It’s simple, delicious and versatile. You can even use tri-tip or skirt steak depending on what’s on offer at your local butcher shop, farmers market or grocery store.

Happy grilling and enjoy!

Cooking for Solutions

Yesterday and today I have been doing some recipe testing for the Cooking For Solutions event that happens every year at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Being a Sustainable Seafood Ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I will be cooking and speaking for the event (Saturday and Sunday followed by book signings for my brand spanking new cookbook, with the addition of competing in an Iron Chef style event on Saturday!). I am creating two recipes: one for grilled Alaska Salmon and one for grilled Alaska Snow Crab.

With the rains rolling in today, I’m taking a bit of a backseat on the grilling, but I did manage to play around a bit with a salmon marinade that includes fresh dill, mint, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil served with a tzatziki sauce; a cajun-style spice rub salmon; and a salt, pepper, lemon zest, thyme rub with grilled lemon zest asparagus. All are something to build on.

But, what about the crab? Is there anything more delicious than crab with garlic butter? If so, please let me know because I have not been able to find anything that rivals it. I have tried several different dipping sauces as well as an appetizer with marinated candy striped beets, avocado, a dollop of creme fraiche and arugula micro greens.

I also tried a spicy tomato gazpacho with avocado, crab, and the arugula micro greens.

Both were… well, alright,but… hey, it’s no garlic butter.

So, what are your favorite flavor combinations using grilled salmon, or snow crab?

(Now, if only Latte paired well with crab….)