Thursday, January 22, 2009

Super Simple Sides

I really like vegetables, but I get tired of making the same old thing all the time. Our dinners usually consist of a main dish accompanied by either steamed broccoli, roasted veggies, or corn and either rice or potatoes. Boring. But my problem is that I don't want to dedicate time to making sides. I have decided that I need to have some super simple side ideas and I need to branch out a bit. This is my first attempt at that goal! I made this recipe by thinking about what flavors I might like together. Hope you enjoy!

Super Simple Sauteed Zucchini

Cast of Characters (This phrase is shamelessly borrowed from The Pioneer Woman. Check out her recipes - they rock!):

2 medium zucchini
1/2 cup corn
one large or two small shallots
2 tsp. olive oil
Herbamare seasoning
black pepper

First you need to get out your big, sturdy skillet. If, like me, you do not use non-stick cookware, spray it with a non-stick spray. Then heat about 1 tsp olive oil in the pan over medium high heat. Give the shallots a fine dice and saute them in the oil until they are nice and brown. I like to use shallots for this because they are more mild than onions and I think they match zucchini better because of that. But if you don't have shallots, by all means, use an onion. About 1/4 of a medium ought to do it.

Once the shallots are soft and brown, add another tsp of oil to the pan, followed by diced zucchini. I like my zucchini in about a half inch dice. This way the cook up nice and fast and are small enough that they are not too much bigger than the corn. I like my mixed veggies to all be roughly the same size for some reason...

When you add the zucchini to the pan, resist the urge to stir them right away. Just let them hang out in a single layer for a while so that they get nice and brown. If you have your heat high enough, this won't take too long and after you turn them once to get nice and brown on the other side, they'll have a perfect crisp-tender texture!

When you flip the zucchini the first time, go ahead and add the corn. This is best with frozen corn that has been thawed, or fresh corn cut from the cob. But I only had canned on this day, and it is fine that way too. In fact, this is a great way to use up leftover corn. After you add the corn, it is time to season the veggies. I like to use Herbamare seasoning. This is a really nice seasoned salt that can be found at natural food stores. It pairs great with veggies, fish, and chicken! If you don't have this, or another seasoned salt you like, kosher salt would work well. I also add pepper. I think some basil or thyme would be good here, too. Go crazy and try whatever spice sounds good at the time!

By the time the zucchini is browned on the other side, the corn will be heated through and this is ready to serve! Even with the chopping, this dish only takes about 15 minutes, and the results are worth the extra effort! I served this up with a yummy beef enchilada casserole! Yummy!