No. 169: Spicy Grilled Zucchini

At home in Kansas, I used to love and hate mid-summer with equal passion.

You see, that's when my father's incredible garden would begin producing zucchini, tomatoes and summer squash in earnest.

Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Well, not if you are only a family of four and he's raised enough vegetables to feed hundreds. You do eventually get tired of zucchini with every meal.

I heard a funny joke the other day that summarizes this perfectly:

The only time New Englanders lock their cars is during zucchini season. Too many drop offs!

If you knew the Roudebush family, you were in the same type of danger. You weren't a friend unless you took vegetables home with you.

Obviously, now that I don't have access to that terrific garden and am limited to a few planters in my backyard, I feel differently. I wish my dad could drop off a few pounds of veggies from Kansas.

Grilling Zucchini

I had no idea that zucchini and summer squash were so difficult to grill until I started checking out recipes. But it can be tricky. You slice it too thin, it falls apart. You slice it too thick and it carmelizes on top without cooking through. You marinate it and it stays watery and lifeless.

Luckily, I was able to find a terrific article on Serious Eats on the best way to fix it on the grill. Short answer, oil/season it and save marinades for the 'after' grill portion.

Spicy Grilled Zucchini

Armed with my new grilling knowledge, I adapted the recipe below from a few different sources. The spice ideas came from Overtime Cooks.

Ingredients

2 large zucchini
Olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper

To make

Slice zucchini into 1/2-inch thick disks. Salt and allow to drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before cooking.

Prepped zucchini

When ready to cook, mix zucchini with olive oil and spices in a large bowl. Be sure to get a good coat of spice on both sides.

When grill is hot, place your veggie grill grate on and let it preheat for a few minutes. Add zucchini slices and cook, covered, until zucchini is well-browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip slices and cook, covered, until zucchini is well-browned and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer zucchini to a serving platter. Serve warm.

The results

Serious Eats is right, a 1/2-inch disk is the perfect grilling thickness for zucchini.

Final spiced Zucchini

We had the fire going nice and hot, so these little guys cooked up in about 6 minutes total. I loved the spice mixture which gave each slice some nice and even heat, brought out further by the char from the grill.

We ate these next to our stuffed burgers and the two went well together. An easy, healthy addition to your next barbecue menu.

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