Cut into thick ribbons and barbecued, sliced and mixed raw into salads or cut into chunks and roasted in the oven – zucchini are a quick and easy summer vegetable.
British-Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi is a huge fan of versatile vegetables, and this 40-minute table-top recipe is inspired by kousa b’laban, a Levantine dish of baby marrow stuffed in yogurt. This comes from his latest cookbook, love shelf, which he wrote with Noor Murad, who has worked with the Ottolenghi team since 2016.
It’s not a hard dish, but he writes in his introduction: “It’s a bit of an art to cook yogurt without curdling it. Stabilizers such as corn flour and egg yolk tend to do the trick, as does cooking yogurt over moderate heat, stirring continuously and reheating gently without boiling ”.
It’s worth it, he says. “A creamy and tangy sauce, ideal for these zucchini [zucchini] but also with other grilled vegetables, fatty meats or even in sauce on pasta.
Grilled zucchini with hot yogurt and saffron butter
For 2 to 4 people
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
30 g unsalted butter
tsp saffron threads, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
4 small pale or regular green zucchini (or 600g), halved lengthwise and heads trimmed lightly
2½ tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
3 tablespoons of water
300g Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon of dried mint
¾ c. coarsely chopped toasted coriander seeds
1½ tablespoon of mint leaves, picked
Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to a high broil level. Put the butter and saffron in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, let it infuse.
Place the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil, ⅓ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Arrange them cut side up and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, until charred and soft.
Around the last 10 minutes of cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water until smooth, then add yogurt, garlic, dried mint, remaining oil and salt. Whisk to combine, then transfer to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, for about 10 minutes, or until mixture thickens slightly and is heated through. Do not let the sauce boil, otherwise it will split.
Transfer the warm yogurt sauce to a plate with a rim and top with zucchini, grilled side up. Cover with saffron butter then sprinkle with coriander seeds and mint leaves. Squeeze half a lemon and serve immediately.
This is an excerpt Ottolenghi test kitchen: shelf love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, $ 49.99. You can buy it here.
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