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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Zucchini, Lidia Style

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Zucchini, Lidia Style

I grew up watching Lidia Bastianich on PBS.  Every Saturday afternoon, I would settle in to see what new and interesting Italian locale I'd be whisked away to.  She tells the best stories and features the most wonderful slice-of-life scenes - digging for clams in the Adriatic, at the fish market, at a family feast.  And then she would cook.  Oh, she cooks the most wonderful food.  I think what I like best about her is how authentic she seems, and how simple her food is.  Like Paula over at bell'alimento says, beautiful food doesn't have to be complicated.  And Lidia appears to subscribe to that philosophy as well.

Last weekend I caught a telethon on PBS and there was Lidia, cooking it up both in the studios and in her own kitchen.  She made this recipe that I totally fell in love with - garlicky zucchini with black olives and capers.  YUM! I decided that I would make it as a side dish for Mother's Day.  Keep in mind, I was only watching her.  I received no instruction as to the ratio of ingredients so I tried to estimate everything.

To start: Our ingredients.  I used 4 small zucchini but you could use 2 regular or large ones.  The guys I had were pretty small.  I cut them into eighths.  Also, 4 smashed cloves of garlic, capers, anchovies, oil cured black olives (which I smushed to take out the pits), and olive oil.  Delightful.

I'm sure that if you don't like anchovies you could leave them out.  I happen to enjoy them when they're dissolved in olive oil...which they were for this recipe! Barely coat the bottom of your saute pan with olive oil and heat it up.  Then place 3 or 4 anchovies in the hot oil and keep them moving. 

Embrace the anchovy.

As you can see from the picture above, they break down and sort of dissolve into the oil.  It's really neat to watch! Just be careful the oil isn't so hot that you start to burn them - that's really gross.  Not like I'd know from experience or anything...

Anyway, once the anchovies are broken down, add your smashed garlic cloves.  I just left them in big chunks.  Lidia removes hers prior to serving, while I kept them in.  Yum!

Then toss in your zucchini.  The important thing here is to let the zucchini really carmelize in the pan.  The sweetness combined with the tang of the olives and capers is killer! Lidia added a decent amount of salt, which I was wary of seeing as how the olives and capers were going to join the party at some point.  So I was less liberal.  It's a matter of taste, I guess.

...starting to brown up...

Then add the olives (a handful) and capers (I used around a tablespoon, maybe a little more).  Keep that zucchini in there until...this happens:

Here's the finished product!

I love the color on the garlic and of course the color on the zucchini.  It really darkened up, didn't it? This is a very tasty dish, but one which only I seemed to enjoy.  Maybe it was the anchovies, I don't know.

Still, I think you should give this one a shot.  As you can see, it's really easy and you never know - you might just love it as much as I do!


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Anonymous April@The 21st Century Housewife said...

That looks delicious! Thanks for sharing, I'm always looking for new things to do with zucchini!

May 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Blogger Allie and Pattie said...

AsI tell my family- some people just don't know what's good. More for us!!
xoxo Pattie

May 14, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Blogger julie said...

Looks good jen! My husband would tear this up!

May 14, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Blogger Rachel Cotterill said...

That sounds really tasty. I'm veggie, so I would leave out the anchovies :)

May 14, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Blogger ButterYum said...

Oh Yum!! Not enough people embrace anchovies, don't you agree?


May 14, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Blogger Theta Mom said...

Holy awesome sauce!!!

May 15, 2010 at 7:57 AM

Anonymous Alisa said...

What a great recipe! It looks so good!If you wont mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

May 15, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Blogger Zia Elle said...

Love your zucchini!! They look delicious, I have to try....
Nice your blog, see you soon :)

May 15, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Blogger Abby said...

I love zucchini! Can't wait till they start coming in later this summer. I've also always wished I could be related to Lidia.

May 15, 2010 at 10:24 PM

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May 16, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Anonymous Melissa said...

Jen, this looks divine! I am definitely doing this one! I am a vegetarian so this is right up my alley. Recently, I've been thinly slicing (I forget the correct term for this) carrots and carmelizing them with some balsalmic and olive oil. So yummy! I don't have the greens required for this recipe tonight so I'm just going to use my trusty carrots. I'm really into the orange stuff right now ;)

Do you think the zucchini would be good sprinkled with feta?

May 16, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

Melissa, Melissa, Melissa...everything's good sprinkled with feta! haha I wish I'd had some, now I have to make it all over again!!

May 17, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Anonymous Melissa said...


I've found the most deliciously mild feta from a local deli. It goes down like buttah. I buy a lb of it every 5-7 days. I know it sounds crazy, but so long as I have feta, I can eat healthy. When I don't have it, my thoughts start spinning and before I know it I'm rocking back and forth in a corner with chocolate icing.
As soon as I get back into the swing of things, I'll wean off the feta. Just. not. right. now.

May 17, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, thank GOD someone blogged about this greatest of recipes as I am apt to forget about one of the ingredients (in which case I had forgotten about the capers). This recipe is not in Lidia's book so thanks again.


June 13, 2010 at 9:20 PM


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