Even on the coldest, darkest winter days we find ourselves craving veggies to go along with our hearty pasta meals, succulent roasts, and long-simmered stews. However, one problem we often run into is that the winter produce at the grocery store just doesn’t taste as good as it does during the summer. But Giada De Laurentiis just shared one of her and Bobby Flay’s favorite meals from Italy, where they filmed Bobby and Giada in Italy on Discovery+, and it works its magic on produce all year long, thanks to a simple pan-fry of the veggies that brings out their flavor and adds complexity. It’s her pan-fried zucchini salad!
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Even the freshest summer zucchini can be a bit lacking in flavor, so De Laurentiis hits it with a one-two punch. First, she pan fries zucchini slices in luscious olive oil until deep golden-brown. Then, she hits them with tons of umami, first with a shower of grated Parmesan cheese, and then with a robust anchovy vinaigrette.
The recipe also makes good use of winter tomatoes. Fresh summer tomatoes are so juicy and sweet, you don’t really want to cook with them. But winter tomatoes can use a little help, and sauteeing a chopped tomato with lots of aromatic ingredients creates a complex dressing for the pan-fried zucchini and coaxes out the natural sweetness of the tomato.
For those of you who are skeptical of anchovy, we beg you to give this recipe a try. The anchovy paste melts into the olive oil, becoming salty and savory, and is mixed with piquant capers, fragrant oregano, spicy red pepper flakes, and a chopped tomato. You can’t even taste the fish by the time the vinaigrette is done. That being said, according to the Giadzy Instagram account, you can replace the anchovy paste with fish sauce or even a splash of worcestershire sauce if you’re not keen on the anchovy flavor.
De Laurentiis and Flay may have enjoyed this dish while vacationing under the Tuscan sun, but it will add some sunshine to your plate any time of year. Serve it alongside pan-roasted chicken thighs or beef tenderloin, toss it with pasta, or serve over risotto or polenta – the options for this flavorful winter salad are endless.
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