Zucchini with nicoise olives & almonds

Zucchini, nicoise, almonds

There’s a little market not far from my house. I love it! I have to stop going! It’s not like a regular farmer’s market, with local vegetables you can afford. It has irresistible, beautiful things that you can’t afford, but can’t not buy. I’ve gone the last three weeks, and I’m like a kid on christmas morning, with my trumpet mushrooms, fiddleheads, castelvetrano olives and french feta. But it has to stop! Yesterday, I stood clutching my bag of olives and my loaf of bread, my brain feverishly trying to catch up with the fact that I’d just spent nearly ten dollars on two kinds of olives, whilst simultaneously trying to figure out if it was worth waiting for the french feta to arrive on the scene. Sigh.

But I bought more castelvetrano olives, because I still have a big crush on them, and I bought some little nicoise olives, which are the cutest things you’ve ever seen! Small and perfect little purply-brown ovals. They’re firm and salty and meaty, and very easy to pit. I decided to add them to some quickly sautéed zucchini, with some garlic, summer savory and chervil, for a quick, light side dish. And I decided to fry some sliced almonds in butter to top it off, because they’re ridiculously tasty that way! (But you could toast them in a dry pan, if you’re vegan). Nice with an arugula salad, but it would be good tossed with pasta, as well!

Here’s Nat King Cole with This Side Up, to listen to while you make this side dish!

2 medium sized zucchini, chopped lengthwise in quarters, and then into 1/8th inch pieces
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 t red pepper flakes
2 t fresh summer savory
1 t fresh chervil (If you don’t have summer savory and chervil, basil, thyme, rosemary or marjoram would be nice, too, if you don’t have fresh herbs, add the dry herbs to the olive oil with the garlic)
1/2 cup pitted chopped nicoise olives
1/3 cup sliced almonds sauteed in 2 t butter till golden brown

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook till the garlic starts to sizzle. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s starting to become transparent. Add the olives. Cook a few more minutes, till the zucchini is as you like it – I like mine bright and still quite firm. Take it off the heat. Add the fresh herbs, and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Arrange on a plate, and top with the almonds. Or, toss the whole thing with the pasta shape of your choice.

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