When zucchini first start showing up in the markets, they’re slim, dense-
fleshed little marvels that taste more like zucchini than they ever will again.
They’re perfectly suited for searing and a quick soak with good olive oil, vine-gar, chilies, and mint.
It’s a good idea to salt sliced zucchini liberally ahead of time if you can. This
gives the vegetable a chance to really absorb the seasoning all the way through.
Then simply sauté the slices until they’re deeply golden but still crunchy. Here chopped toasted pine nuts are a surprising and delicious addition.
4 cups 1-inch-thick rounds zucchini (2 to 3 small zucchini)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon pine nuts
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
6 mint leaves, torn
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Place the zucchini in a colander and toss with the salt. Let stand for 20 min-
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small baking pan, turning once, until they are golden brown in spots and smell rich and nutty, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour the nuts onto a plate to cool, then coarsely chop.
Pat the zucchini dry with paper towels. Heat a large skillet over high heat, then add ¼ cup of the olive oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and sear on both sides, without moving the slices too much, until deep golden, 7 to 10 minutes; they should still be somewhat al dente, not too soft. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl and toss with the vinegar and the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil.
Return the skillet to medium heat, add the garlic, and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Add the chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the zucchini. Stir in the mint leaves and pine nuts.
To serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer the zucchini to plates. Drizzle with
some of the marinade and sprinkle with sea salt.