Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon KebobsMutiny Because of the Bounty
Come with me and let me take you on a little journey to see if this is something you can relate to. It’s February and you’re sitting at the kitchen table, a stack of the latest seed catalogs in front of you. (Ahhhh…that new catalog smell!) The excitement and anticipation of the fresh bounty to come are impossible to contain. And, you are convinced that you actually need every variety of those heirloom tomatoes and squash because who doesn’t like tomatoes and squash? And of course, the best part is sharing with others. So, having too much shouldn’t be a problem. And, you never know when Better Homes and Gardens will call to ask if they can come to do a photoshoot in your garden because it’s Just. That. Awesome.

Fast forward to the end of July. It’s been hot and some of your plants are showing the damage. You’ve battled a round of blossom end rot on your tomatoes. The ants are taking over your bell peppers and your squash “cup” runneth over.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to pawn a lot of my produce off on my sister which, frankly, is one of the reasons I plant a garden. (She loves the produce but her yard is too shady.) But there is still a lot of produce on the vine.

Planting and taking care of a garden is a lot of work but it’s worth it for the fresh produce. There will never be anything that can hold a candle to a homegrown, vine-ripened tomato. But, during the peak months, you will find yourself scrambling to come up with ways to use everything so it doesn’t get wasted. And, in doing so, you might find that you never want to see another pepper in your lifetime. Zucchini is notorious for this.

I love squashes of all kinds. But, even I will get tired of them day after day—especially if they are prepared the same way each time. That being said, I like them cooked simply so you can actually taste the flavors of the squash. Grilling them is my favorite but can be tricky. Cook them a heartbeat too long and they will be mushy.

I saw this recipe for Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs in the New York Times and wanted to try it because it looked like a great way to avoid soggy squash and the ribbons seemed fun. Play around with the seasonings you use. You don’t have to go with BBQ. Salt, pepper, and olive oil are always fantastic as is your favorite Mediterranean blend. Za’atar would also work really well…

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs Recipe
Adapted from Stephen Raichlen and New York Times Cooking
Yields 6 servings

To keep the zucchini crisp during grilling, slice it thinly and cook over a hot fire. The edges char and get crisp like the burnt ends of a rib.

Grapeseed oil or other high-heat vegetable oil, for the grill grates
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons of your favorite rub or spice mix (we are using the Mediterranean Roasting Rub from Whole Spice)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 medium-small zucchini (approximately 6 ounces each)
Kosher salt

Prep the grill
Set up your grill for direct grilling and set the heat on high. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it by tightly folding a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil and drawing it across the bars of the grate with a pair of tongs.

If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in cold water.

Roast your garlic
Meanwhile, pour the olive oil into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, 1 tablespoon of the rub or seasoning mix, and the lemon zest. Cook, stirring frequently until the garlic is softened and fragrant (about 3 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool.

Prep the zucchini
Cut off and discard the ends of the zucchini. Using a mandolin outfitted with a finger guard, thinly slice one zucchini lengthwise into slices scant 1/8-inch thick. You can also use a chef’s knife to cut slices lengthwise just shy of 1/8-inch thick. To test the thickness, try folding your first or second strip. If it breaks at the fold, it means it’s too thick.

Lay the slices flat on a sheet pan. Lightly brush the tops with enough olive oil to lightly coat them. Lightly sprinkle the slices with some of the remaining 2 tablespoons of barbecue rub ore seasoning.

Assemble your kebobs
Fold a zucchini slice into an accordion shape like ribbon candy and thread it onto a metal or soaked bamboo skewer. Continue threading until all the slices from the zucchini are on the skewer.

Slice, brush, season, and skewer the remaining zucchini the same way.

Grill your zucchini ribbons
Arrange the zucchini kebobs, skin sides down, on the grate. Grill until they are slightly singed at some of the edges. Continue basting the zucchini with any remaining olive oil, and turning so they brown evenly. If you are using a gas grill, you will need to close the cover. This process should take about 2 minutes per side (4 to 8 minutes in all).

Taste and adjust for seasoning and serve.


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