Did you know that grilled zucchini and garlicky arugula pesto are a match made in heaven? I did not, until I tasted the dynamic duo at The People’s Pub in Chatham, NY, a few weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to reproduce this deliciousness at home, and share the step-by-step recipe with you.
A few of notes:
1) Because this dish tastes best when served cold or at room temperature…
2) It’s the ideal make-ahead dish for a picnic or potluck gathering!
3) You don’t need an outdoor grill for the zucchini! I grilled mine indoors, on a common grill pan.
To start, grab 4 small zucchini (roughly 2 pounds total), and trim the ends.
Then cut the zukes lengthwise into quarters, and pile them into a shallow dish.
With a song in your heart, add a generous drizzle of olive oil…
And a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Toss to coat, making sure that every zucchini spear is slick with oil.
Next, pre-heat a greased (or non-stick-sprayed) grill pan over medium-high heat.
You can, if you prefer, grill your zucchini on an outdoor grill. I’m an indoor cook.
Grill the zucchini, turning the wedges every 5 minutes or so, until all 3 sides are equipped with caramelized grill-marks.
Arrange the wedges on a platter, douse them with a little red wine vinegar, and let them cool to room-temperature.
Meanwhile, let’s make the pesto!
First, drop 2 big handfuls of baby arugula leaves into the bowl of a food processor. Yes, I mean handfuls. There’s no need to measure the leaves!
Then add 2 fat cloves of garlic…
The zest of 1 lemon…
The juice of the aforementioned lemon…
2 ounces of slivered almonds…
And 1 whole cup of grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese.
Blitz the works for 10 seconds.
With the machine running, add extra virgin olive oil through the feed tube until a thick but spoon able pesto develops.
Now taste the pesto! You might like to add a pinch of kosher salt. Transfer the pesto a bowl.
Note: At this point, you can cover the bowl of pesto and the platter of zucchini with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for up to 24 hours. Yes — this is a dish that will wait for you!
Divide the zucchini spears among plates, top them off with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the arugula pesto, and then brace yourself for powerful new taste sensation!
Here’s the printable:
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