Quick Sauté of Zucchini with Toasted Almonds and Pecorino
A recipe from The Red Cat Cookbook by Jimmy Bradley and Andrew Friedman

We’ve served this dish at The Red Cat since our first dinner back in 1999. It sums up a lot of what I think makes a dish comfortable to both cook and diner: a mere handful of ingredients, each contributing its own important flavor and texture; the whole thing held together with a fine extra-virgin olive oil. It’s that simple, but the flavor is very complex and complete.

Technically speaking, “quick sauté” is almost redundant; to sauté something means to make it “jump in the pan.” But I include quick in the title to emphasize the importance of just barely cooking the zucchini: As soon as it begins to give off a little moisture, get the pan off the burner. The zucchini should be warm, but not too hot. You just want to unlock its flavor and help it meld with those of the almonds and oil.

Serves 4

  • 1ŕ4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1ŕ4 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 to 4 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1ŕ8-inch-thick slices, then crosswise into matchsticks (about 5 cups)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces Pecorino Romano, thinly sliced into 12 triangular sheets with an old-fashioned cheese slicer or very sharp knife, or shaved into shards with a vegetable peeler

Divide the oil among 2 large, heavy-bottomed skillets and heat it over high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add half of the almonds to each pan. Cook, tossing or stirring, until the almonds are golden brown, approximately 30 seconds. Add half of the zucchini to each pan and toss or stir to coat the zucchini with the hot oil, just a few seconds. Remove the pans from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and return to the heat for 30 seconds, tossing to distribute the seasoning.

Divide the zucchini and almonds among 4 warm salad plates, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, arrange the Pecorino sheets in a pyramid over each serving, and get it to the table while it’s still nice and hot.

Happy Cooking from the Potter Recipe Club!


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