Sloppy Zucchini

Words by Katy Anne, Photographs by Ilana Freddye

I think I still have a childish expectation that my summers will be like summer vacation: long lazy days, ice cream cones, wet bathing suits that stay wet in the humidity until well after dark. Being an adult who works during the summer is still a bit jarring, even though it's been like fifteen years now. This summer in particular has felt a bit... dizzying. 

Back in May, Ilana warned me that it was gonna be a weird summer. Apparently there’s like six planets in retrograde, and though I still don't really understand what that means, I think astrologers might be onto something. They claim that these retrogrades affect all sorts of things: communication, commitment, organization, emotion. The overarching astrological advice was to take it easy this summer - to avoid starting projects or making long-term commitments, and to kind of just chill for a few months. 

It's safe to say we didn't take that advice. We're working as private chefs again in the Hamptons this summer and on top of that we've been selling stickers and sandwiches and doing catering gigs and publishing articles and photos and while it's nothing we'd dare to complain about, it's made these last few months feel lightning speed. It's also the last summer of my twenties, which in the beginning of the summer I applied way too much weight to and now I'm just excited to enter the glorious decade of my 30s, which everyone tells me is pretty great. In any case, it's been a whirlwind. 

If there was a recipe that encapsulated the barreling pace of this summer, it'd be this: sloppy zucchini. It's a mess. It's hurried. It's easy. And it's delicious as f--k. 

It's a dish we came up with back in June, the day before we sold our first sandwiches. And it's something we keep revisiting. It's built to be a versatile, put-whatever-you-have-around-on-it dish that lets you be flexible with what you have on hand. Most important is the cooking method: you really want to get a good char on the squash. 

It can be a side dish or a centerpiece, or on a sandwich, or in a taco, or on top of a steak if that's what you're into. Be you. 

grilled zucchini
grilled zucchini
grilled spiced zucchini
grilled zucchini spices

Sloppy Zucchini

Serves: 2-4 (easily doubles) 

Mix spices, garlic, and olive oil together in a medium-sized bowl. 

Add sliced zucchini to marinade and make sure every surface of the zucchini is covered. You should marinate it for at least half an hour, up to 4 hours in the fridge. 

Meanwhile, heat your grill to high. When ready, place zucchini flesh-side down (the inside, not the skin) on the grill (you really want to get good char here, so make sure it’s hot!) Leave it, without flipping, until it starts to get good dark grill marks like a steak. Then flip the pieces & cook until you get good marks on the other side. The zucchini should get really soft and brown. Remove from the grill and toss back into the marinade.

Optional: toss with olive-oil-fried bread crumbs to serve. See below.

4 small zucchini (yellow or green!), sliced in half lengthwise  

1/4  cup olive oil 

3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped 

1 tbsp smoked paprika 

1 tsp ancho chili powder 

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp turmeric powder 

1/2 tsp cinnamon 

salt to taste – we use about 1 tsp kosher salt (use less if using iodized or fine salt) 

Olive Oil Fried Breadcrumbs

Remove the crust from two slices of stale bread and cut it into cubes. If not super stale, you can toast the bread cubes in a 250F oven until they dry out (about 10-15 minutes). When dry, pulse the bread in a food processor until you have medium-fine bread crumbs. Toss bread crumbs in a good amount of olive oil and salt to taste and bake them at 350F until crispy (about 10 minutes). 

Top zucchini with bread crumbs and serve. 

Notes: If you’re not eating it right away, you can pop it into a 400F oven to warm it up before serving