Sorry to be MIA these last couple of days, but when you hear what's been going on with us, I think you'll understand. First off, my mom had rather last minute knee surgery. She's doing great but didn't want her two pretty badly torn menisci (is that the plural?) ruin a long-planned summer trip. Add to that my niece Zoe's 7th birthday for which I made this family favorite, my daughter's crazy finals schedule and, not to bury the lead, but OUR SON AND HIS GIRLFRIEND GOT ENGAGED and you can see why posting got pushed to last place!!! We are over-the-moon excited about it and you couldn't find two more perfectly matched people on the planet!! They (and we) are just so darn lucky!!!! What a year it's going to be!!
I wanted to bake some extravagant celebratory dessert with lots of fancy piping involved, but who has the time?!! So instead, I'm just going to jump right in and start with what I was actually writing before all of the above happened...Every year my farmer boy husband likes to plant his "crops" in the little patch of dirt on the side of our house. He's had great success with tomatoes and cucumbers (we spend half the summer making pickles) but every time he tries zucchini, he only winds up with a few puny specimens, which is a crying shame because zucchini is one of my favorites. I like it roasted in a little olive oil, fried in batter and shredded into a muffin or cake--its versatility is a thing of beauty! And used here, simply sliced into rounds and grilled, it elevates a simple pasta dish into a memorable meal. Which means I'm going to have to either trade in my farmer or buy my zucchini. Hmmnn...
The zucchini really is the star here. Golden brown, soft and crisp at the same time and slightly smoky, it's so, so good and so easy to make! I could eat it every day!!
And then there's the Israeli couscous. Are you familiar with it? Truthfully I don't think I ever had it till I made this wonderful Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms, Peas and Sweet Potato Sauce and then this "Almost" One-Skillet Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Asparagus and Parmesan and now it's one of my favorite grains! Nubby little chewy beads that look so appetizing and taste so satisfyingly starchy without being heavy. If you've never tried them before, I urge you to do. I think you're gonna love 'em!
Rounding out this dish is the fresh mozzarella adding a little creamy mellowness and the shaved parmesan cheese, with it's sharper salty tang, perfectly balancing out one another as well as the zucchini and couscous.
It's a great warm weather dish--easy to prepare, light and vegetarian. So simple and yet so special. It's definitely going to become a summer staple around here!
Meanwhile, I'm on cloud nine and who knows when I'm coming down. We have a wedding to look forward to!!! Yippee!!!!
Grilled Zucchini, Mozzarella & Israeli Couscous
Makes 4-5 servings
Prep Time: 35-40 minutes
- 6 large or 12 small zucchini, cut into thin rounds
- 1/4 cup olive oil (you may need more or less)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly shaved
- the juice from half a lemon
1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and add the zucchini in batches. Watch out it might splatter! Season with a bit of salt and pepper. As soon as the rounds start to turn golden brown, lower the heat to medium and turn them over. When both sides are golden brown, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Repeat the procedure turning the heat up so that the zucchini can get nice and brown and then turning it down again so that they can cook through.
2. Cook the Israeli couscous according to the package directions, drain well and put into a large serving bowl. Toss with a tablespoon of the olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
3. Tear or cut up the mozzarella into chunks. Add to the bowl as well as the parmesan cheese and lemon juice and zucchini. Toss well and taste. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary and add more olive oil if you like. Serve immediately or let cool and serve at room temperature. It's great either way. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for several days in an airtight container and reheated in the microwave or eaten cold.
Note: Recipe adapted from Simple by Diana Henry. I revamped this recipe in a large way. Subbed Israeli couscous for the fregola, fresh mozzarella for the burrata, parmesan for the pecorino and cut the basil because I didn't have any. Also cut the amount of lemon juice in half and used less olive oil.