Friday, June 26, 2009

zucchini confit with mint & almonds

What makes this a “confit,” you ask? Nothing really. Confit (from the French verb confire) implies something preserved: think duck legs poached (and stored) in rendered fat, or plump, syrupy cherries.

This Zucchini Confit, on the other hand, is merely a case of clever branding, a euphemism for “Zucchini Cooked in Generous Quantities of Olive Oil.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Because, even if it doesn’t bestow longevity on these zucchini, the oil certainly serves a purpose, coaxing out the vegetable’s natural sweetness and coating the thin slices in a minty, buttery glaze.

But now I’m making this out to be more decadent than it really is. Forget the “confit,” and, if you must, dial back the olive oil a tablespoon or two. The result will still be delicious.

Zucchini Confit with Mint and Almonds
Adapted from stonesoup

Serves 4

For the zucchini:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds (about 4-5 medium) zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds
2 cloves garlic, peeled & finely sliced
½ bunch mint, leaves picked
Pinch of dried chili flakes, optional

For the almonds:
¾ cup blanched almonds
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Make the almonds: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes, or until light brown, tossing after 5 minutes.

Place oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic and half the mint leaves and chili. Season with salt. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until zucchini are buttery and tender but still holding their shape. Season to taste and sprinkle with chopped mint.

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