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.

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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

Spiced Roasted Cabbage with Yogurt Sauce

Cabbage is more than just the star of a good coleslaw, it can stand on its own – especially when spiced up, roasted and served with my lemon yogurt sauce!

spicedroastedcabbage

 

Spiced Roasted Cabbage with Yogurt Sauce

Yield: Serves 4

 

1 small head of green cabbage, cut into ¼ – ½ inch rounds

extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground fennel

1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle powder, or more to taste

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place cabbage on a parchment lined sheet tray.

Drizzle cabbage with olive oil. Using a brush or your finger, spread olive oil to coat the cabbage.

Season cabbage with salt, pepper, cumin, fennel and chipotle. Flip cabbage rounds and repeat with olive oil and spices.

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cabbage is nice and caramelized.

 

Yogurt Sauce:

¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons freshly squeeze lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Stir to combine all ingredients. Serve alongside roasted cabbage.

 

 

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

So, there’s this thing called Umami Paste. It’s typically a blend of different ingredients, like vinegar, anchovies, tomatoes, mushrooms, spices… and it’s used in cooking (add it to a soup, rub on meats, throw a little in with your eggs) to add a punch of flavor – an umami boost, if you will. (You can purchase it at speciality stores or on Amazon.) Given that most dishes for meat eaters have umami naturally – that very satiating savory flavor experienced most commonly when eating meat dishes – I thought to myself, wouldn’t this be a perfect sauce/paste to adjust (no anchovies here!) for vegans and vegetarians? Hence, my vegan umami paste – seriously good regardless of your meat eating preferences, and definitely a punch of umami to your food! Here, I add it to roast eggplant on grilled bread – KERPOW!

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

 

Vegan Umami Paste

Yield: 1 cup

2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste

½ teaspoon soy sauce

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon unsulphured organic molasses

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons porcini dust (.25 ounces dried porcini put through a spice grinder or you can rehydrate .25 ounces of dried porcinis, rough chop them and add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients)

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

½ cup green olives, pitted

1 medium garlic clove, minced

4 sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate in between uses.

 

Roast Eggplant Sandwich

1 large Italian eggplant, cut into ½-inch thick slices, widthwise

extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

½ teaspoon ground cumin

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Piece of baguette or ciabatta that has been seasoned and toasted in the oven with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed with a peeled garlic clove

Flat-leaf Italian parsley, for serving

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil (a generous amount) on each side of the eggplant slices and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the eggplant is nice and caramelized.

Spread vegan umami paste on bread. Top with eggplant, a drizzle of olive oil and some parsley leaves.

 

Homemade Vegetable Stock

I always try to have a few quarts of homemade vegetable stock in my refrigerator or freezer. A good stock can make a good soup great and a sauce even better. In fact, I believe the quality of the stock can make or break your dish. I believe this because I once made a dish with canned stock and it was so salty and “off” tasting that it ruined the dish! So, whenever possible, I try to make my own stock. Another benefit is that you can use all of your aging, limp celery, onions and carrots that have been sitting for days on end in your refrigerator – the stock doesn’t mind! It all equals less food waste, getting more for your money and a delicious outcome – voila – enjoy!

 

Homemade Vegetable Stock

 

Homemade Vegetable Stock

5 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped roughly (2 pounds)

5 stalks celery, chopped roughly

5 large carrots, peeled and chopped roughly

1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms (preferably button, cremini, or shiitake)

5 sprigs fresh thyme

7 sprigs fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 dried bay leaves

 

1. Combine the ingredients in a large pot.

2. Cover with 1 gallon (4 quarts, or 16 cups) of cold water. Place over high heat until just boiling. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours.

3. Strain the vegetable stock into another pot and enjoy right away, or let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, store any remaining stock in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Note: Mushrooms add a wonderful savory, meaty flavor to the vegetable stock, but be aware of any potential allergies to mushrooms your guests may have. This recipe is delicious without the mushrooms, too. Either way, you’re good to go.

 

Salmon Burgers with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Wild Alaskan salmon is in season! So, next time you purchase some salmon at your local grocery store or fish market, how about making my salmon burgers? They are easy to make and have a nice crispy outside on account of the panko. Mmmmmm.  Plus, the homemade tartar sauce is a delicious treat in and of itself! Sea for yourself! (Bonus: it’s a sustainable seafood dish!)

 

Salmon Burger Panko

Salmon burger in panko before cooking

Salmon Burger with Homemade Tartar Sauce

 

 

Salmon Burger with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Yield: 4 burgers

 

For the burger:

1 pound wild salmon filet, skin, bloodline and pinbones discarded, chopped finely

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1 ¼ cup panko bread crumbs, divided

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

Place the salmon, mustard, lemon juice, herbs, salt, pepper, mayonnaise and ¼ cup panko in a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold until well combined.

Place 1 cup panko on a plate.

Form 4 equal sized patties, approximately 3-inches in diameter and 1-inch thick, and press bottom of patties into the panko to coat. Do the same to the opposite side, pressing each patty into the panko.

Place burgers on a parchment-lined tray or plate.

Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat and add the 1/3 cup olive oil. Let sit over medium-high heat for 1 minute, until the oil shimmers (hot!). Add the burgers and let cook on each side for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

Tartar Sauce:

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons cornichon, diced small

½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

½ teaspoon capers, rinsed and chopped roughly

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Burger Assembly:

Tartar sauce

Romaine or Butter Lettuce leaves

Toasted hamburger, optional

Place tartar sauce on bottom and top of hamburger buns and top with burger and lettuce. Alternately, you can eat your salmon burger in between lettuce leaves or on top of a bed of lettuce with tartar sauce drizzled overtop.