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Summer Fest: Grilled Zucchini with Lemon and Olive Oil

For the rest of the summer, my Wordless Wednesday posts will be replaced by Summer Fest 2010 – a cross-blog food event that celebrates the beautiful fruits and vegetables so readily available from home gardens and farmer’s markets at this time of year. The event is in its third year and I’m thrilled to be a part of it for the first time this summer.  Thanks to Margaret Roach and Deb Puchalla for creating this fabulous summer blogging party!

Each Wednesday for the next five weeks a group of us will be sharing tips and recipes centered around a specific garden theme.  There are several bloggers participating, new friends and old, and we will be linking to each other and encouraging you to share your favorite tips and recipes as well.  It’s a big celebration of summer produce and you’re all invited!

Summer Fest 2010:  Cukes and Zukes

The theme for this week is cucumbers and zucchini.  Though not as stunningly beautiful as heirloom tomatoes nor as fragrant as plump, vine-ripened peaches, cucumbers and zucchini are high on my list of summer favorites.  Yes, you can buy both year-round at the grocery store, but there’s something special about seeing the first Armenian cucumbers and tiny summer squash showing up at the farmer’s market.  And what’s more beautiful than the fleeting appearance of delicate orange squash blossoms piled high at a market table?  Cucumbers and zucchini deserve to be celebrated and I’m thrilled that they are the starring attraction this week at Summer Fest.

I chose to celebrate zucchini in one of the simplest ways possible – grilled.  I like to slice the zucchini lengthwise into long 1/2 – inch thick strips then add a quick squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt, and a grind of black pepper.  These simple additions along with a quick sear on a hot grill will turn your ho-hum, boring zucchini into something magical.

The entire process takes less than ten minutes once you have the grill (or even a grill pan) preheated.  And once the zucchini is grilled you can eat it warm or cold, alone or chopped and combined with other grilled veggies.  It’s great served alongside grilled meats, but can also make an interesting sandwich addition, or even layered into lasagna.

Grilled Zucchini with Lemon and Olive Oil

zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices (allow one small zucchini or half a large zucchini per person)
fresh lemon (allow 1/2 lemon for 2 – 3 large zucchini)
olive oil
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat gas or charcoal grill.  Place zucchini slices in a large bowl then squeeze lemon juice over the zucchini and toss to coat.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and rub the slices with your fingers to make sure all sides are coated with the oil and lemon.  Arrange slices on a platter and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Turn the slices over and season the other sides with salt and pepper as well.  Grill the slices over direct medium-high heat for a few minutes per side or until nice grill marks appear and zucchini is tender.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Other Ways with Cucumber and Zucchini

Cukes and Zukes from other Summer Fest Attendees:

How You Can Join in Summer Fest 2010

Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting with our posts of Wednesday, July 28, for five Wednesdays, you can contribute in various ways, big or small.

Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish.  It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid.  No pressure, just delicious.  Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt of Mattbites.com).

Upcoming Summer Fest 2010 Posting Schedule

7/28: Cukes and Zukes
8/4: Corn
8/11: Herbs, Greens, and Beans
8/18: Stone Fruit
8/25: Tomatoes