Inspiration: This recipe was one of my first blog posts back in September of 2008. Since then, I can easily say that I’ve served this more than any other single recipe in the last couple of years. As you can see from all of the photos, it’s our favorite standby side dish that we return to again and again. I think that makes it deserving of an updated post.
What we Loved: This dish is a snap to throw together, and we both just love everything about the bright and simple flavors. It’s a quick one pan saute of olive oil, fresh zucchini, nutty almonds, and plenty of salt and black pepper, topped with rich Parmesan cheese. That’s it! The ingredients marry so well and leave you with a bright and fresh vegetable side dish that goes so well with any number of main dishes. I make it nearly every time that I serve chicken piccata (maybe the only meal that I rarely vary?), and I’ve served it with countless other main dishes, too – sauteed white fish (which is one of my favorite combinations, especially in summer, as it makes for a really light and refreshing meal), Chicken Parmesan (it goes great with any Italian, tomato sauce-based meal), stuffed mushrooms, crab cakes – basically whenever I need a great vegetable to serve alongside my main dish. And really, I could eat a big bowl just on its own for lunch or a light dinner, too.
Helpful Hints: I always bring the salt to the table, because I like a good bit of salt sprinkled on top. I’m definitely one who loves her salt, but I really do feel that the extra salt sprinkled on top adds a lot of flavor. I’ve also tried shredding my Parmesan for this meal instead of shaving it, but it’s not nearly as good, in my opinion. Those big shavings of Parmesan are just really tasty. And thirdly, I like to use the thinnest zucchinis that I can find. These are generally firmer and have less seeds, and they lend themselves well to bright and crisp zucchini pieces in the final dish.
Zucchini Almond Saute
Here’s the recipe that I always make for Brandon and me. It makes a whole pan, but then we eat a lot of vegetables with dinner. You may want to use less zucchini if you’re looking for smaller portions.
2-3 thin zucchini, sliced into matchsticks
A handful of almonds, roughly chopped (about 1/4 cup)
Parmesan cheese, shaved into thin slices
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan. When hot, add the zucchini and almonds to the pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until the zucchini starts to soften, only a few minutes.
2. Plate the zucchini and almond mixture and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese shavings.