I have never been too big a fan of zucchini and actually spent many years of my life actively disliking it, but ever since I began cooking it this way I've been craving it. It's insanely good. And fast. And easy!
The recipe is from the Red Cat Cookbook, a collection of recipes from the New York restaurant. The quick sauté of zucchini with toasted almonds and pecorino is one of The Red Cat's signature dishes and is much mentioned in reviews of the restaurant and blog posts -- with good reason. It's freakin' delicious. It's amazing to me that something that I find as usually forgettable as zucchini can be transformed into something this delicious.
The addition of almonds and cheese make this substantial enough to be almost a meal in itself, or at least I often treat it as a meal in itself. It's also the perfect amount of cooking for a hot day.
My zucchini is often cooked a little beyond the point of the Red Cat's -- I'm not always fast enough at getting it out of the pan and on to the plate. It's still delicious though with enough crunch to keep the whole thing from being mushy in any way. At the Red Cat this is served with wide slices of pecorino shaved paper thin and then arranged over the zucchini in what sort of looks like a teepee. I'm not sure what the point of this is, plus I can't manage feats of food presentation like this so I serve it with smaller pieces of pecorino strewn over the top which still looks inviting to me. But really, the important thing here: insanely delicious.
The Red Cat's Quick Sauté of Zucchini with Toasted Almonds and Pecorino
2 small zucchinis
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (I've been using blanched, slivered almonds because I have some I need to use up)
2 ounces of pecorino romano, in long shaved pieces
1. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into thin (1/8") slices, then cut crosswise into matchsticks. You should have around 2 1/2 cups.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat and when it's hot add the nuts and cook until they are golden with just a little bit of pale brown showing which will take about 30 seconds.
3. Add the zucchini, cook for about 30 seconds, add salt and pepper, then cook about 30 seconds more, stirring the zucchini. As soon as they begin to give off moisture, they're done.
4. Divide between two plates, scatter the pecorino shavings on top, and serve.
If you want to do this for more than two servings, cook the batches separately -- if you pile too much zucchini in your pan you'll end up steaming it rather than sautéing it.