Summertime in New Jersey means zucchini. Bumper crops of them. Everyone with a home garden grows them and the stores are overflowing with locally grown boxes of this versatile squash. Italians and Greeks love cooking with them. The recipes are endless. Clearly, for easy and relaxing summerentertaining this is a host’s dream. The day before I picked a nice bunch of fresh mint (spearmint) from my garden. Zucchini and mint are a very Mediterranean pairing, especially in Sicily and in Greece. I had some Feta cheese and there you go…a dish is born. Add some sunny lemons for a real Mediterranean freshness. Are you exhausted with grilled vegetables? I am,
call me blasphemous, but most times they are not grilled enough or burnt, and loaded down
with balsamic vinegar and too much oil. Not a fan of the strongly acidic and flavored balsamic with charred vegetables, the flavors are too heavy for me. (I can see the hate mail now…)Instead of grilling, I decided to oven roast the zucchini slices and marinate them over night in
fresh lemon and mint with a little garlic…topping it with feta…a platter of Summer sunshine
reminiscent of a Summer’s day in the Greek Islands..
It brings blue skies, bright Mediterranean sun,
white washed stucco houses clinging to the side of an ancient volcano, blue painted domes
that blend in with both the sea and the sky…magic. All this from a bag of local zucchini.
Start with 5 zucchini. Slice them into rounds, about 3/8 of an inch thick, any thinner, they
will just fall apart on you. In a large stainless steel bowl, add the zucchini
along with 1/8cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (look for Greek Olive oil for a more “authentic”
flavor), 1 tsp. ground allspice, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper. Toss. Pre-
heat an oven to 400 degrees F. In a large baking pan, arrange the zucchini without overlapping.
Bake for 10 minutes, then turn them, bake for addtional 6 minutes, turn the oven off, and leave
them in for another 5 minutes. check for times though, You may need to adjust for your oven.
Don’t let them burn, they should have a nice roasted bottom, then when you turn them over,
they should be soft to the touch.gently place them into a bowl after they have cooled for at least 15 minutes. Mix together the
juice of one large fresh lemon, 1 finely minced clove of garlic, 2 leavy sprigs of fresh mint, a
pinch of salt, and a good amount of freshly ground pepper. Pour this over the zucchini and
cover. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Arrange on a platter and crumble 1/8 cup of Feta cheese over the top. Top with some
whole mint leaves, a little black pepper..you are done. Do not serve this cold. Let it come
to room temperature to appreciate all the flavors on the platter…and go to your laptop and
book a trip to Greece…