Slow Braised Zucchini Courgettes
Preliminaries: For optimal results, make some rosemary infused olive oil. Just put some good olive oil in a clean glass jar, about two thirds of the way up, then stuff the jar full with rosemary. No garlic, no chilis, and certainly not a dainty single sprig. Put the lid on the jar and leave it out on your countertop. Give it a shake when you see it, once a day at least. In a few days you will have a headily rosemary-scented olive oil. At this point you can leave the rosemary in to make the scent even stronger, or remove the rosemary.
If you are in a hurry, you can scent your olive oil as you cook the zucchini slices by putting a couple of sprigs into the simmering oil. Beware of the rosemary burning though, which will impart a bitter taste.
- 3 to 4 small to medium zucchini (courgettes)
- Rosemary infused olive oil, or olive oil plus a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary, or rosemary hydrolat if you have it (see notes below about hydrolat)
Slice the zucchini (courgettes) into ½ inch / 1cm thick rounds. Pat the slices dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel.
Pour ½ inch / 1cm oil into a large frying pan, and turn the heat up to HIGH. Put the zucchini in one layer in the pan - do not overcrowd the pan. Keep the heat on HIGH until the oil starts to bubble up rapidly, then lower the heat to low-medium, or to the point where the oil is quietly bubbling around the zucchini.
Leave like this for at least 30 minutes, until the undersides of the zucchini slices turn golden brown. Turn the slices over, and cook until the other sides are also golden brown.
Do not add salt during the cooking process! Salt will draw out the moisture from the zucchini, which is not what we want here. We want the moisture to stay inside while the surface gets crisp and caramelized.
Once the zucchini slices are darkly golden brown (they will have shrunk quite a lot too), remove them from the oil. You can drain them on paper towels to get rid of excess oil if you like. If you are using hydrolad, add about ½ teaspoonful at most to the hot zucchini slices and toss rapidly right now. Add a pinch of salt - don’t oversalt, or you’ll mask the delicate rosemary scent.
Serve piping hot, or at room temperature.
(photo & recipe via justhungry.com)