I am trying terribly hard to (at the very least) alternate sweet and savoury posts. Needless to admit, it has been tough. Sometimes it is because baking is just so damn therapeutic, its all I end up focusing on. Other times, when I cook a meal, it gets consumed before I even realise that the camera never managed to get a snapshot before it got devoured.
But the last week has been a busy cooking week. It features: hoisin glazed tofu in miso broth, fudgy energy bars with date and puffed rice, baked risotto with peppers and spinach, penne in cherry tomato and mascarpone arrabiata, strawberry and vanilla bean creme brûlée, crispy gnocchi with sage, zucchini ribbons with almond pesto. phew!
Since my last post was the awesome thumbprint cookies, this time lets focus our energies on a vegetable, particularly- zucchini. Now I admit its not an exciting vegetable. It has its trademark earthy flavour, but it is not so pronounced, and nor does it lend itself in terms of flavour, to many dishes. What the zucchini succeeds in, is texture. Whether you throw it in a salad, or stir fry it, or even add it to your pasta, what one instantly notices is texture.
So begins the summer heat. I hate it. This is the city’s worst few months, until the clouds roll in like a rescue brigade, raining droplets from above. I can’t wait. To help cool us down, this zucchini side dish works wonderfully as a gluten free main course as well, maybe with a side salad or a BIG portion of desert! 🙂
It also helps tremendously that zucchini is extremely healthy: it has a low calorie count, has fibre, potassium and vitamin C. Using different colours and sizes also adds to the visual appeal of this simple and delicious side dish.
Who said healthy = boring?
To take that theory even further, a few drops of good quality truffle oil (either black or white, both work) or a few shavings of black truffle really lift this dish into a different dimension. For those who have-not yet acquired that truffle tongue, just skip this last step. The zucchini and the almond pesto still taste lip smacking, glorifying this humble vegetable, in a low fuss and not-intimidating technique.
- 1/2 zucchini
- 1 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp truffle oil (white or black, both work) (optional)
- 1/4 cup roasted and cooled almonds
- 1/8 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1/2 clove garlic, peeled
- 1/8 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- pinch of salt
- Prepare the pesto by grinding the almonds in a small food processor. Add in the parmesan, garlic and chilli flakes and pulse till fine and grainy.
- Add in the lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Mix till combined.
- Peel the zucchini into ribbons. I used a regular vegetable peeler, but next time I am going to try with a madoline. You want to end up with long and wide ribbons, which are about 1/8th" thick. Keep chilled until ready to eat.
- While serving, in a bowl, mix together the pesto and the zucchini. Add in a tsp of olive oil as you go along if you find the pesto too dry. Finish with the parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil.