I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s coming sooner than you think. The end of summer.
For some this is a melancholy time filled with mourning the loss of late sunsets and hot days, but for me the coming of fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year: cooler weather, college football, cross country season… what’s not to like? The only thing I really don’t like about this time of year is a single word: Autumn. I don’t know why people need to use that word when they talk about fall. Maybe it’s a regional thing, but to me autumn is just one of those overused, “I’m trying to be poetic” cliches. (It feels good to get that off my chest, and I sincerely hope I didn’t offend too many people).
I know summer doesn’t technically end for about two more months, but when it does, this is a recipe you’ll want to make. It’s a perfect way to simultaneously savor the best of summer and welcome the cooler days of fall. Plus, I know a lot of people who have their own gardens always end up with far more zucchini than they know what to do with around this time of year, so this will come in quite handy.
The zucchini here looks a little different from the variety I was used to in California, but aside from the color, it’s basically the same.
I cut mine into spears, sprinkle it with salt, and let it sit for about half an hour to take out some of the moisture. This step may not be essential, but I think it improves the texture of the final product.
There is something about roasted tomatoes that is divinely comforting to me. I don’t know if it’s the mellowing of the acidity to a rich, sweet flavor, or the way they become sublimely soft and tender, but roasted tomatoes make me incredibly happy. Add a little garlic and olive oil, and you have a sauce so good, it’s hard not to eat it by the spoonful.
If you manage to have some self control, though, the sauce is the perfect accompaniment to these garlicky roasted zucchini spears. Unlike a plate full of pasta, this won’t leave you feeling stuck in a carb-induced food coma.
2 large zucchinis
4 cloves garlic, divided
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
8 medium tomatoes (or about 12 roma)
a few pinches of salt
a few pinches of sugar
Cut the zucchini in half crosswise, then cut each half into 8 wedges.
Sprinkle with a little salt and let stand for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 F.
Chop 2 cloves of garlic very finely, and combine with 2 tbsp olive oil.
Core the tomatoes and cut them in half.
Put the tomato halves on a jelly roll pan lined with foil, and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring the pan about halfway through. They should be very dark brown in places, but not charred. (If they are starting to get black on the bottom, take them out).
Blot the zucchini pieces with a clean tea towel and toss with the garlic and oil mixture. Bake on a sheet pan for 30-40 minutes, turning once or twice.
Set the finished tomatoes and zucchinis aside. Sprinkle the zucchini with a pinch of salt, if desired.
Chop the remaining 2 cloves of garlic.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the chopped garlic.
Add the tomatoes and their juice. Using a wooden spoon or metal spatula, break the tomatoes into small pieces (this will get easier as they cook).
Add a few pinches of salt and a pinch of sugar, taste, and adjust seasonings.
Simmer until thickened, 10-15 minutes.
Serve the sauce either next to or drizzled over the zucchini spears.