So I have a bit of a crush on the editors of Food52. It is a beautiful food site with a wealth of amazing food ideas. I always find myself learning a little something whenever I peruse their site, that is if I do not get sucked into browsing their gorgeous online shop. I was pumped to go to a free event with fellow foodie and blogger, Grace, at the Free Library of Philadelphia the other night that featured Merrill Stubb, co-founder of Food52, and Kristin Miglore, executive editor and the writer of their weekly Genius Recipes column. They were promoting their new book Food52: Genius Recipes. I honestly did not know too much about the book before going, but I left completely inspired (and still thinking that they have the coolest job ever and wish I had said coolest job).
The idea behind Genius Recipes is that each recipe features a little tip, technique, or ingredient combo that will really up your cooking game. They may seem a little odd at first and perhaps go against normal cooking rules, but then they totally, magically work. They discussed how lemon juice can turn cream into a magical dressing for figs, how salt on yogurt is their new go-to breakfast, and how cooking broccoli forever is actually not the worst idea ever.
This recipe is inspired by the recipe they discussed, Roy Finamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever. You can find the recipe in their new book, but it also here on their site. You blanch broccoli, add it to an olive oil, garlic, anchovy, and chile mixture, and simmer it on the stove, covered, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, you find murky green broccoli that they describe as a "miraculous substance" that can be smeared on bread, pureed in soup, tossed with pasta, or just eaten by itself. Supposedly all the cruciferous funkiness mellows and broccoli almost becomes a little sweet. Seems pretty awesome, right?
Considering I had no broccoli but loads of zucchini, I decided I would have to try this sort of vegetable "confiting" with my zucchini. And boy, is it delicious. And foolproof. And low maintenance. But also, a little ugly. This is most definitely one of those don't-judge-a-book-by-it's-cover recipes. It looks pretty anemic, but I promise that the flavor is not. I did not have any anchovies so I decided to mix in some miso paste instead, and I love the umami richness it gave. I let it cook for about 80 minutes, less time than the broccoli because it is a much softer vegetable. Because it cooked for so long though, the miso takes on a bit of sweetness, too. You could make a big batch of this and find all sorts of uses for it. I served it on crostini here, but I tossed it in with some cooked brown rice and feta cheese a little later. And I'm planning on smearing it on a pizza before the summer ends.
And if you find this intriguing, check out Grace's beautiful rendition with summer greens from her backyard garden.
Zucchini Confit with Miso
1 1/4 pound zucchini, washed, dried, and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon miso paste
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, use your fingers to smear the sliced zucchini pieces with the miso paste as best as you can. Heat the olive oil and sliced garlic over medium heat in a large skillet. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the chili flakes. Add the coated zucchini pieces and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to very low. Cook for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring every so often to distribute the zucchini, being careful not to mush zucchini. Remove from heat, uncover, and let cool. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy warm, at room temperature, or slightly chilled. Makes about 2 cups.