Saturday, August 17, 2013

Grilled Zucchini with Anchovy Vinaigrette

The garden has come a long way since I tricked my buff sister into clearing it out for me. 
The garden when we bought the house. 
Some things have gone better than other. Squirrels ravaged our watermelon and peppers, and the mint we planted--supposed to be an almost weed-like, easy thing to grow--is a sickly yellow and barely produced enough leaves to support a lonely mojito. 
But: the zucchini, unsurprisingly, is going gangbusters! From a single plant, we are well past our 20th zucchini. Several new ones mature every day. 
The vegetable crisper, overrun with zukes!

I've made zucchini bread, zucchini latkes, and put zucchini in pad thai and green curry. And we've been grilling zucchini frequently as a side, with whatever happens to be for dinner. 
But zucchini is undeniably bland. With a simple preparation like grilling, you need something to put on it--pesto, romesco sauce, balsamic--something like that. So, to go with grilled zukes, today I made my all-time favorite salad dressing: anchovy vinaigrette. 
World's simplest, most delicious salad is crispy torn romaine, Italian parsley, and green onions--all lightly dressed with this vinaigrette. This alongside a roast chicken and a glass of red wine may be world's most perfect homemade dinner. 
Anchovy vinaigrette tastes nothing like the nasty anchovies you get on pizza--it's rich, complex, salty, and totally delicious. Even an un-adventurous eater like my mom liked it on salad last time she came to visit (the woman loathes even hypothetical fishiness in food--she's never tried sushi because she thinks it will maybe taste fishy. Alas.) 

Here is how you make it:


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons or more good red or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard, (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 4 anchovy fillets, or more to taste, with some of their oil ( I prefer the rolled ones with capers!)
  • 1 large shallot (about 1 ounce), peeled and cut into chunks

What to do

Combine all ingredients except shallot in a blender, and turn the machine on. A creamy emulsion will form within 30 seconds. Taste, and add more vinegar if necessary, about a teaspoon at a time, until the balance tastes right.
Add shallot, and turn machine on and off a few times, until shallot is minced within the dressing. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve. (This vinaigrette is best made fresh but will keep refrigerated for a few days. Before using, bring it back to room temperature, and whisk briefly.
Finished vinaigrette! I made a week's worth. This keeps great in the fridge. 

I grilled some zucchinis and drizzled the vinaigrette on top--delicious! 

I made a gigantic tupperware full of grilled zukes, along with some of our patty pan squash, and a leftover red pepper from the last time I made romesco. It's school again, so having this on hand will ensure veggies find their way into our lunches this week. 

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