Tonight belonged to Giada. With a boatload of squash from a friend, I opened up Giada’s Family Dinners and searched for squash. I found:
Oh my gosh, don’t you love when you have one of those dinners where everything goes together perfectly? Where it is the perfect balance of flavors and everything is so good you can’t believe you made it? Last night’s dinner was it for me. It was so good and so simple! That last word is what makes it so special, it was so ridiculously simple and it tasted so fresh. And look how pretty it looked on my new square dinnerplates!!
Marinated Zucchini and Summer Squash
(adapted from Giada’s Family Dinners)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I used the juice from one lemon)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used rice wine vinegard)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (I used lemon thyme)
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 pound zucchini, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
1 pound yellow crookneck squash, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
In a large bowl, whish the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and thyme to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the marinade to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the marinade. Add the zucchini and squash to the marinade, cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 3 hours or refrigerate for up to a day.
Grill over a medium-high heat for about 8 minutes. Serve with the reserved marinade, either hot or at room temperature.
This was so good, and I am not even a big squash fan. I’m not even a little squash fan, I’m not really a fan of squash at all, but I do not refuse free food when it is offered to me by my gardening friends. The lemon flavor was subtle, just right.
To go with this, I chose another Giada recipe from the same book:
Grilled Chicken with Gremolata
(from Giada’s Family Dinners)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest (if you make this with the above recipe, zest the lemon before juicing, I, of course didn’t and it would have made things much easier!)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 boneless chicken breasts halves (she says with skin, mine didn’t have the skin)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, combine the parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, oregano, and garlic. This is the gremolata, set it aside.
Rub olive oil over both sides of the chicken, season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high grill for about 5 minutes per side. (My grill started acting up, so I ended up just sauteing the chicken). Serve with the gremolata over the top.
Again, this was so simple and so good. The flavors tasted of summer. This was my first time making a gremolata, I had no idea how easy and delicious it was. Those of you with more experience than me (um, that would be the majority of you), probably can make gremolatas in your sleep, but this was so exciting for me. How many other wonderfully simple sauces are there out there, that transform a simple piece of meat, chicken or fish into a symphony of flavor????