smothered summer squash

Nothing says summer like zucchini. It’s light, crisp, and has an oh-so-delicate citrusy aroma. My father might disagree (well actually, he has made it clear that he disagrees on the zucchini front), but I think that zucchini is one of the tastiest vegetables.

It’s super versatile, too.

Grilled zucchini, roasted zucchini, zucchini gratin, steamed zucchini, raw zuchinni, zuchinni, bread, zucchini muffins.

Zucchini pasta.

Yes, that’s correct. Not only does this lovely vegetable blend beautifully into a multitude of baked goods, but it also becomes wonderful pasta as well.

Let’s just say that last night was “Everything That Dad Hates to Eat” night. Since he was gone, my mother and I decided to seize the opportunity. We would have really hit the theme home if we’d had lamb as well, but you really can only eat so much in one sitting.

We had a wonderful, simple meal of zucchini and salmon, all smothered in abominable amounts of fresh, homemade pesto.

Perfect, summery, one-bowl satisfaction.

Man, I’m going to miss salmon while I’m abroad in France. Yes, I realize they have other seafood, that is quite possibly just as tasty, but still. Fresh wild salmon is irreplaceable.

Pesto Smothered Zucchini Noodles and Salmon – serves 2

3 small zucchini

20 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

½ red bell pepper

3 cups fresh basil

⅓ cup pine nuts

3 cloves garlic

4 TBSP olive oil

zest of 1 lemon

juice from ½ of above-mentioned lemon

1 tsp salt

¾ lb salmon (but as described above, we really, really, like salmon, so that might be too much for you)

Toast the pine nuts in the oven at 350 degree. You can also start roasting the red pepper at the same time. Just put the pepper in the oven and bake until it’s soft all the way through (you can have it share oven space with the salmon, if need be). Pull the pine nuts out when they’re golden brown and let them cool a bit. Meanwhile, pull out your trusty food processor and throw in the peeled garlic cloves, pine nuts, lemon peel and salt. Pulse a few times and then add the basil, lemon juice, and 3 TBSP of olive oil. Blend until you find the right consistency. I prefer pesto a bIMG_0549it smoother, while my mother likes a chunkier pesto. Add the remaining olive oil if you need to.

Once the pesto is made, put the salmon in a baking pan and put a heaping soupspoon full of pesto on top. Spread it around until the top of the salmon is lightly covered. This will help seal moisture into the fish. Pop the fish in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until it is about 125 degrees inside (that’s medium rare for salmon).

On the red pepper front: Pull it out of the oven when it’s thoroughly soft. Let it cool and then cut into bite-sized chunks. Then set aside.

While the fish is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and start slicing zucchini into pasta-shaped strips (see the picture forIMG_0550 reference). When the salmon has about 5 minutes left in the oven, toss the zucchini strips into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Pull them out, add the tomatoes, pepper, and rest of the pesto, and toss gently. Serve with the salmon on top.

Enjoy, trying to put the mess you made in the kitchen that’s waiting to be cleaned up out of your head for the moment.IMG_0554

Side note: It’s truly amazing that I managed to make it through that entire post without spelling “zucchini” correctly once. Darn double letters. Thank goodness for spell check.

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