A traditional Greek-Cretan recipe: zucchini roasted with tomato, garlic and olive oil until tender and velvety.
I have been coming across this Cretan recipe lately: whole zucchini stuffed with garlic roasted in the oven with tomato and olive oil. While I roast zucchini in the oven, it is usually with something else such as in stuffed tomatoes or in briami (the Greek version of ratatouille). But I found this recipe interesting because the zucchini itself is the main ingredient.
I was attracted to this recipe not only because it uses zucchini, which is in season right now, but also because of its simplicity. It takes a few minutes to prep and then you just put it in the oven.
Zucchini is generally a popular ingredient in Greece: you find it in many casseroles, they use it to make zucchini patties (try these for a baked version), they slice them and fry them for an appetizer (try the a non-fried version here), they stuff zucchini flowers with rice or cheese and lightly fry them and of course they make zucchini pies (kolokithopita).
Zucchini is a very low calorie vegetable with only about 15 calories per 3 ounces, it is a good source of the carotenoids (pigments) lutein and zeaxanthin, these substances have antioxidant properties and play an important role in eye health. It is important to note that lutein is better absorbed with the presence of fat, so don’t forget the olive oil. This was the first time I made this and I ate as a main course with some feta and bread. It was delicious and the garlic was mild tasting. The zucchini are roasted whole. You can cut it in bite-size pieces or you can serve whole. I added a bit of extra tomato too. Once you cut the zucchini, it will release water, which is what you see in the photo, basically a mixture of olive oil and juices from the zucchini.
Roasted Zucchini with Garlic and Tomato-A Recipe from Crete
- 5-6 small zucchini no longer than 5-6 inches
- Olive Oil
- 3 cloves garlic sliced thinly
- 2 to matoes chopped or 12-14 ounces about 400 grams chopped tomatoes
- Chopped parsley
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius)
- Wash the zucchini (do not peel), cut the edges slightly.
- Thinly slice garlic.
- Make long slit in the zucchini lengthwise deep enough to stuff it with garlic. Stuff with garlic.
- Place zucchini and tomatoes in pan or casserole dish.
- Pour over the olive oil- about 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
- Add salt, pepper and parsley and turn zucchini so they are covered in the olive oil.
- Cook in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the skin is soft.
Photos by Elena Paravantes