Sometimes I think this blog inaccurately portrays me as prolific culinary explorer, never eating the same thing twice and turning every dinner into a new adventure. I do try at least one new recipe a week--one can only write so much about tuna noodle and pasta with fresh sauce. But the rest of the time, I settle into comfortable cooking routines. My Saturday lunches are a repetitive cycle of baked spaghetti squash with Parmesan, steamed frozen spinach with garlic, oatmeal with sunflower seeds and maple syrup, or corn on the cob. Winters feature lots of soup. June through October is CSA season, which could more accurately be referred to as pasta season around here: there are currently 4 boxes of linguine in the pantry, for dishes like linguine with asparagus and pine nuts, linguine with zucchini and chickpeas, and the aforementioned classic, pasta with fresh sauce.
We are in the throes of the zucchini harvest right now, and my zucchini cooking strategy can be summed up in two ingredients: olive oil and garlic. It's a classic combination, and one that makes sense for a squash variety that was developed in Italy. But after spending a few weeks eating zucchini dishes with very similar flavor profiles, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone with--wait for it--olive oil, garlic, and smoked paprika. I admit that the flavors of this dish aren't really novel; I use the feta-basil combination in gnocchi with zucchini and feta, and tomatoes are a zucchini sidekick in many of my baked pasta dishes. But the smoked paprika does add a nice depth, a sultry counterbalance to the zippy brightness of the basil and garlic. It might even be enough unexpected flavor to make you feel like a culinary explorer.
Inspired by "Summer Squash Shakshuka with Baked Eggs" from the Kitchn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds (about 5 cups)
- 4 eggs
- 3.5 ounces crumbled feta
- 1 medium tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
- several basil leaves, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and tilt to evenly coat. Add garlic, shallots, and smoked paprika and cook until shallots are softened and paprika is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
Arrange the cooked zucchini so that there are four evenly spaced wells. Crack an egg into each well and break yolks if desired. Sprinkle with feta and transfer skillet to oven.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until eggs have set. Sprinkle with tomato and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.