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Home on the Range: Zucchini-Herb Butter

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Zucchini-herb butter - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Zucchini-herb butter
Late-summer zucchini is the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables. It gets no respect.

As in, "Make sure you lock your car doors and barricade your front porch against neighbors trying to rid themselves of  green monsters that balloon to the size of baseball bats overnight."

In truth, really huge zucchini are not good for much. They tend to be spongey, seed-filled and so mild in flavor that they don't add anything to whatever recipe you try desperately to hide them in.



But merely large zucchini are well deployed in this unctuous zucchini butter. Coarsely chopped zucchini (and summer squash if you like) is stewed slowly in olive oil with a touch of butter, along with generous amounts of garlic and fresh herbs.
Cooking down zucchini and summer squash - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Cooking down zucchini and summer squash

The resulting soft spread has a million uses. It can be smeared on toast and dotted with fresh goat cheese to make bruschetta, tossed with roasted cherry tomatoes and pasta, used as a base sauce for homemade pizza, slathered on veggie or meat burgers, or used to top grilled salmon.

The best part is that the recipe reduces two pounds of zucchini to one pint of concentrated goodness. Divide it into smaller jars, which are way easier to sneak into your neighbor's car and I guarantee will be appreciated.
Mashing cooked zucchini and summer squash - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Mashing cooked zucchini and summer squash

Zucchini-Herb Butter

Makes 2 cups (2 half-pint jars)

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 2 large zucchini (about 2 pounds), coarsely chopped (remove seeds if they're very big)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • Finely chopped leaves from 5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme (slivered basil would also be good)
  • Couple splashes dry white wine, optional
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice, optional
Directions
  1. Set a large skillet over medium heat and melt the olive oil and butter.
  2. Add the garlic, zucchini, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini starts to soften, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the thyme leaves.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is completely soft, another 25-30 minutes. (I like to use a potato masher to coax it along.) If the zucchini starts to stick, add a splash of white wine or water.
  5. When the zucchini is cooked, taste and add a little more salt and a squeeze of lemon juice, as desired.
Source: Adapted from Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan (Running Press, 2014).
Got cooking questions? Feel free to email pasanen@sevendaysvt.com.