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Seasonal Spotlight: Zucchini
June 23, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

My eyes lit up a few weeks ago when I spied the first zucchini of the season. The small, thin green ones are my favorite, packing the most delicate, almost buttery flavor. Normally I prefer slicing them into coins, and sautéing them in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. A few chopped marcona almonds—a tip I picked up from Heidi Swanson who writes the blog 101 Cookbooks, add crunch and texture to balance the tender pieces of zucchini.

My three-year-old daughter shares this same appreciation for zucchini, but her older sister isn’t such a fan of this specific preparation. Grate some into muffins, and she’s the first in line. No sneaking or hiding, she’s well aware zucchini is in there—she just prefers them that way. Working with that in mind, I decided to use roasted zucchini as a springboard for a new dip recipe. Since both the kids love hummus, I decided to add a familiar flavor and included tahini in my final recipe. A fresh squirt of lemon brightened the flavors too. Throw in some carrot sticks or grilled pita, and we’ve got one more zucchini recipe Isabella is happy to dig into.

Roasted Zucchini Dip
Makes 2 cups

1 1/4 pounds zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 tablespoons (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon tahini
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 a lemon
Fresh cut vegetables or grilled pita bread, to serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Add the zucchini to a 9-inch by 13-inch roasting pan. Toss with the olive oil, then season with the salt and pepper. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the zucchini is very tender. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  3. Put the zucchini, garlic, tahini and lemon juice into the bowl of your Cuisinart food processor. Process the ingredients until they become a chunky puree, about 1 minute. Serve with fresh cut vegetables or grilled pita bread.
  4. May be prepared 1 day in advance, and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator before serving.

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