About a year ago we found ourselves in the kitchen of caterer Jennie Cook, grating small mountains of zucchini for an intriguing dish she called zucchini marmalade, or butter. When we finally tasted the fruits of our labor (at a community eat-in for good food in schools), we were delighted by the spread's buttery, subtly sweet flavor. In fact, it was so memorable that we've been craving it ever since and finally asked Jennie for the recipe.
Having missed the actual cooking of the zucchini marmalade/butter in Jennie's kitchen last year, we were surprised to discover how easy it is to make. Although it takes some time on the stove top (and you can even cook it down further than the batch in the photo above), it's otherwise quite simple, requiring just a couple of ingredients slowly cooked in olive oil until jammy and buttery. Delicious on toast or sandwiches, it's a great little staple to have in your summer cooking repertoire.
2 pounds zucchini, more or less* 1/4 cup olive oil or butter, if you prefer 2 minced shallots, garlic, or combination of both Salt and pepper
Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel.
In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the shallots briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the marmalade for added flavor.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.
Enjoy on toast, or as a side dish all summer long!
*Feel free to add extra zucchini. It may take a little longer to cook, but this recipe keeps well and can be stored in the refrigerator for about a month.
• For information on Jennie's catering company, and for more recipes at her blog, visit Jennie Cooks Catering.