Zucchini can be hard to get just right. It often cooks unevenly no matter how evenly you cut it – some pieces will start to get translucent while others are still closer to raw. And it can go from undercooked to overcooked in a matter of minutes; in fact, even if you manage to cook it perfectly, it has a nasty habit of overcooking itself with residual heat after you take it out of the pan. To be clear, if you know your way around the kitchen at all, you are unlikely to overcook zucchini to the point where it’s unpleasant to consume; however, it’s quite easy for the flesh to end up more translucent than white all the way through, and in my book, that’s just a tad too far.
Why? Because when you hit that perfect zucchini doneness, it’s almost like a different vegetable all together. Tender yet crunchy, with a mild, creamy flavor – it has none of that unpleasant (can I call it squeaky?) texture that zucchini haters always cite when asked how they could dislike such a common vegetable.
So how do you do it? Three simple steps.
Three Steps to Perfect Zucchini
- Zucchini and/or yellow squash
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, desired herbs/spices
- Slice your zucchini into 1/8 inch thick discs. Try to make them as even as possible.
- Toss with olive oil; then lay them out on a parchment-paper lined sheet tray (overlapping a little is fine) and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings (I like to use dried herbs de provence.)
- Bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, depending on the radius of your zucchini discs. Check them at 5 minutes, then 8 minutes, and then 10 minutes. They should be cooked through, but the flesh should stay mostly white.
That’s it! The zucchini will cook nice and evenly (even if they aren’t completely uniform – believe me, my knife skills still leave a lot to be desired!) and you’ll have learned a lovely technique. You can now add your perfect zucchini to sandwiches, grain salads, antipasti platters, pizza – you name it!
If you don’t eat them all first, that is.