sautéed zucchini and yellow squash

by Heguiberto on May 1, 2012

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Some restaurants tend to make meat the focus of the main dish and skimp with regards to vegetable portions. How many times have you seen a huge steak served on a massive dish with a tiny portion of vegetables: something like a few minuscule cubes of carrot; a single, near microscopic broccoli floret or a lone spear of asparagus? Really the vegetables are there just for decoration.

sautéed zucchini and yellow squash

sautéed zucchini and yellow squash

When you ask for additional vegetables, or, if they’re not on the menu, request that the chef prepares a dish with veggies, the wait-staff look at you as if you come from another planet. And once again, inevitably, when the vegetable plate arrives, the portion is just as absurdly little. (And I’m not even talking about the flavor here, as most often these mini-veggies only taste like butter.) It is funny as I have always thought that vegetables were cheaper (and healthier) than meat to serve, so they’d likely improve the bottom line of any restaurant. What’s up with that?

I’m pulling your metaphorical leg here a bit, as I know the reason for this. We’re trained to ignore veggies and focus on fattening foods, especially when we dine out. How sad.

Actually this dreadful paucity of veggies happened to me the other day when we went to Zuni with friends. I was not very excited about the main course offerings, so instead, I ordered appetizers and wanted some vegetables to go with them. The waiter promptly offered to have the chef prepare a ‘special’ side of veggies for me. On the face of it that sounds really excellent, don’t you think? Well, this chef-inspired dish turned out to have maybe a half-dozen small pieces of mixed veggies, probably 4 to 6 oz total, if not less. That’ll teach me to special order.

Needless to say, when we’re home, the vegetable portions tend to be a trifle bigger, and I love it. I served this zucchini and yellow squash sauté as a side to go with halibut en papilote. It matched well with the dish, I ate a lot and enjoyed every minute of it.

sautéed zucchini and yellow squash

2 Italian zucchini, cubed small
2 yellow squash, cubed small
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
Black pepper
Kosher salt
Chili flakes
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
½ tsp minced lemon thyme

Heat up olive oil in a skillet, sweat shallot then add garlic. In goes the zucchini, yellow squash, salt, pepper, chili flakes, parsley and thyme. Toss around for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and voilà!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Krista May 4, 2012 at 4:27 am

“only taste like butter” – that made me laugh because you’re so right! 🙂 I think ordering veggie dishes in Italy and France is the best thing ever because they actually DO something with them. 🙂 This dish sounds very savory. 🙂
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Tom @ Tall Clover Farm May 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

This is something similar to my go-to zuke dish when the little squash are in season. I do add a little grate of parm, and maybe some leftover risotto, that’s the brilliant part of this recipe, it’s so adaptable and so delicious. Thanks!
Tom @ Tall Clover Farm recently posted..Dogouflage: The Art of Canine ConcealmentMy Profile

Devaki @ weavethousandflavors May 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Oh too funny – your diatribe re: side veggies but then we’re not big on herbivorous eating in this country, non? But good news is things ARE slowly changing albeit at a snail pace.
The zook-squash dish makes my heart sing and what a perfect accompaniment to your fish dish.

Miss you guys – sorry I have been MIA.

CHOW 🙂 Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..Teaching the first of a Series of Culinary Classes & Spicy Salmon Summer Rolls with Wasabi Jalapeno Mayonnaise & Sriracha Dipping SauceMy Profile

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