Faced with a pile of summer squash and fennel and requested to bring a salad to a recent party, the Accidental Locavore went trolling through a pile of cookbooks, hoping to find all the squash and/or fennel recipes that might have been saved for warmer months.
In Ottolenghi’s Plenty More there was a recipe for courgette (not to brag, but I have a signed British copy) and fennel with saffron crumbs.
Being lazy, this was more of a riff on the original. Serves 4.
Grilled Summer Squash and Fennel Salad
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut lengthwise into thin strips
- 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut lengthwise into thin strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup dill, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
Preheat your grill (or grill pan, if apartment bound) on high heat.
In a medium pan heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the garlic and breadcrumbs. Fry for about a minute until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
In a large bowl, toss the summer squash and fennel with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grill until both sides are nicely charred, about 6 minutes a side for the fennel, less for the squash.
Put the summer squash and fennel back in the large bowl. Add the lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss gently. Let marinate for about 15-20 minutes.
Plate the vegetables on a large platter, sprinkle with the dill. Top with the breadcrumbs, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Not really my verdict this time…even though I doubled the recipe, I should have made more. It disappeared quickly at the party and one of my friends confided that she’d had three helpings!
Because it needed to travel, I grilled the fennel and squash (a mix of summer squash and zucchini) separately and marinated them overnight. Put it together with the dill and breadcrumbs at the party. If you’re off to a pot-luck or picnic, this is a perfect dish to make. It travels well and doesn’t need to be hot or cold – all good in the summer.
I cut all the squash lengthwise and then in half because it seemed to be easier to deal with at a buffet. Slicing and grilling some Japanese eggplant I had crossed my mind, but then I decided to keep it simple.
From what (little) I ate, it could have used a little more dill and breadcrumbs, but still a big hit!