Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fresh Herbs Series... Roasted Zucchini with Mint Salsa Verde...

Mint comes in a super vast variety of enticing scents and flavours with can you believe- more than 30 species and 600 varieties! The most common in culinary uses would be peppermint and spearmint, and my personal favourite is peppermint. It adds a cool refreshing fabulous minty citrus zing to just about everything- cooked in dishes, fresh as an ingredient or garnish, in beverages- it just elevates all the senses! Storage tip: Lay mint leaves on a slightly damp paper towel. Wrap up and place into a plastic bag; seal and place in your fridge crisper set on high humidity.

I was in awe when I came across this roast zucchini recipe in my Mediterranean cookbook. Roasting zucchini transforms their flavour, making it more concentrated and sweeter. Made it more inviting to try as I had a bunch of mint on hand to use and it was a perfect veggie side to complement a meal of falafels, pitas and a combination of Middle Eastern dips. Their result heavenly with tender sweet zucchini batons dressed in citrus mint and parsley sauce. It truly made my family's taste buds sing...

Roasted Zucchini with Mint Salsa Verde
Makes 4 to 6 servings

4 medium-sized firm zucchinis, trimmed but kept whole
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
large handful of flat-leaf parsley
small handful of mint leaves, reserving a sprig for garnish
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp. olive oil
kosher/sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F. Slightly oil foil-lined baking tray and arrange zucchinis on top. Drizzle or brush their tops with oil and roast for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the salsa: place all the ingredients apart from the olive oil in a food processor with salt and pepper to taste and process into a smooth paste. Add the olive oil slowly and blend to a thick pesto-like sauce.

After the zucchinis are done roasting, let cool before slicing them into batons. There could be quite a bit of juice emitted, so slightly press on the zucchini to release and drain.

Just before serving, add the sauce to the zucchini and toss gently to coat.

Our Middle Eastern spread for dinner with falafels, pitas, assorted dips and roast mint zucchini.

Check out my post of Falafel to make it an easy do-it-yourself from home!

Polished my plate, saving the zucchini for last!!

I am big on using mint in Vietnamese and Mediterranean cuisines, try Vietnamese Stuffed Crepes, Vietnamese Pork Loaf and Noodle Salad, Vietnamese Shrimp and Pork Salad RollsQuinoa Tabbouleh, Beef Kaftas with Tahini-Lime Sauce, and Jamie's Rainbow Beet Wrap!

So happy to be using up all those great herbs in my fridge and challenging myself to do so while making vegetarian dishes during meat-free week! Join me for my next post on aromatic lush dill when I use them with green lentils in a roasted pepper salsa verde...

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