Monday, September 12, 2011
Zucchini and Sautéing 101
Do you know sautéing means “jumping” in French? It’s kind of like frying, only different. It requires a heavy bottomed skillet, food that is cut the same small size and oil that likes really high heat. Frying means quite a lot of oil, larger food items such as chicken parts and lower heat allowing the food to cook longer for doneness.
The question I have with sautéing is: do I heat the pan first and then add the oil or do I add the oil to a cold skillet and heat them both at the same time? Usually I add the oil to a hot skillet but I’m not sure if this is the correct procedure to ensure that very little fat is absorbed by the food. What do you think ~ how do you do it?
No matter which method, I really like sautéed veggies and since summer is about over for this year, I had to squeeze in one more dish that’s filled with fresh zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach.
By the way, zucchini, a member of the plant species, cucurbita pepo, was introduced into American culture by Italy. The Italians developed what we now call zucchini through a freak of nature – a chance mutation of one of its squash brethren. The Italian immigrants brought the seeds with them to California in the 1920’s when later; a small southern California seed company began distributing the seeds. It took a while to catch on ~ all that zucchini you see at your farmer’s markets and the ones your neighbor unloads on you were barely recognized here in the United States just 50 years ago. Now look how prolific it is, being served as a vegetable dish, bread, dessert or as a smoothie to sip on!
This is about as easy as it gets for the veggies I bought at our farmer’s market Saturday morning and quick too. It combines them all with some onion, garlic, chicken broth and crushed red pepper for a little heat. With all the vibrant colors, it looks as appealing as it tastes! I hope you like it!
Sautéed Zucchini Mix
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
3 garlic heads, minced
3 zucchini, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 bell pepper, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
9 ounce bag spinach
½ cup chicken broth, low sodium
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are cooked.
Add zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Cook until the vegetables soften, about 4 minutes.
Add spinach and cook until it wilts.
Pour broth over all.
Add red pepper and salt and pepper.
Cook until all is heated through.
Transfer to a serving dish.
Serve along with shaved Parmesan.
It’s a delicious colorful side dish!
Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes.