The seemingly endless supply of zucchini is indeed a good thing because it leads to creativity and exploration, like this grilled zucchini recipe. It is inspired by one I found in the Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking cookbook, which I recently checked out from our terrific local library. As an aside, a great way to test drive a cookbook is to check it out from the library. The recipe caught my eye because it was so different from any other preparation of zucchini I've tried. It had a tahini sauce on it, and I like tahini (you can find my tahini salad dressing here). It included texture in the form of toasted nuts.
However, the recipe also had some disadvantages as far as I was concerned. It involved turning on the oven in the summertime to roast the zucchini. It involved multiple pieces of equipment, including a food processor, which just seemed like extra time spent washing dishes to me. Who has time for that? Plus the nuts it calls for are hazelnuts. I love hazelnuts. I do not love toasting them and then skinning them (always a messy endeavor).
With that, I decided I could use the recipe for inspiration, adapt it to be fast and easy with a minimal amount of equipment and a maximum amount of flavor!
Grilled Zucchini with Tahini Sauce
3 - 4 zucchini, thickly sliced lengthwise
Sea Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup tahini (not tahini sauce)
Juice of 1/2 lemon (if it's a huge lemon, use 1/4 and then add more lemon juice to taste)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon anchovy paste (it's your preference how much you add).
1-2 tablespoons water (may need more)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Preheat grill to medium.
Once you have sliced the zucchini, brush it with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together the tahini, the lemon juice, and 1/2 tablespoon anchovy paste. It will thicken to the point of seizing. Add one tablespoon of water. Stir slowly to incorporate, avoiding splashing the water out of the bowl. If the sauce is still too thick, add another tablespoon of water. You may even need more water. You want the sauce to be the consistency of salad dressing. Taste it. If it needs more salt and a little more personality, add more anchovy paste.
Turn the grill heat down to low. Grill the zucchini for 2-3 minutes per side.
To serve: drizzle the sauce on the zucchini and sprinkle with pine nuts.
Serving suggestion: The original recipe calls for feta and you could certainly sprinkle feta over the zucchini after it's sauced but before you sprinkle the nuts.
Make it Vegan: Eliminate the anchovy paste and add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to the sauce, to taste.
Nutritional awesomeness: Zucchini is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate and niacin. Tahini has no cholesterol, and is a good source of thiamin, magnesium and zinc. Thiamine is a B vitamin that assists in the healthy functioning of the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Pine nuts are an excellent source of manganese, which is essential for good bone structure.