Makes about 3 cups
Evan Kleiman, chef/owner of Angeli Caffe in Hollywood, shared Edda Servi's traditional Italian Jewish recipe for cooking summer squash until it falls apart. It's a great bruschetta topper, but Kleiman also serves it as a side dish, stirs it into risotto and pasta, and sometimes thins leftovers with stock to make a soup. Use medium-size white or Lebanese zucchini for their creamy flavor and texture and for uniform color throughout the dish. Lemon thyme adds sparkle, but you can use regular thyme, Italian parsley or basil.
This recipe is from "The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook," by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, $22.95).
2 pounds zucchini (about 6), preferably white or Lebanese, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 cup water
Leaves from several sprigs lemon thyme
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Bruschette for serving
Put the zucchini, garlic, ¼ cup oil, water, thyme, and a little salt in a deep pot, cover, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini break down, the liquid is absorbed and the mixture looks glossy, 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and oil. Serve warm or at room temperature with bruschette. Or refrigerate for up to three days; bring to room temperature before serving.
Note: Amy Sweeney, owner of Ammo Café in Hollywood, takes the opposite approach with summer squash, using a mandoline to shave raw yellow and green zucchini into long ribbons and dressing them with olive oil, mint, lemon, sea salt and a scattering of green Lucques olives.