I love summer vegetables, but I always sigh inwardly when a restaurant has “assorted vegetables” as a side. What this usually implies is some tasteless concoction of slice carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash, microwaved for 2 seconds, and unceremoniously dumped onto your plate with no seasoning. It’s no wonder many children and adults hate vegetables when this is the best that is on offer. And it breaks my heart because these vegetables are so wonderful when treated with respect. Here’s where that little extra effort makes a huge difference. It’s the difference between someone loathing vegetables and loving them. My husband is a case in point for this one. He is not a fan of zucchini and yellow squash. When I served this dish, he was in raptures. It’s not that the flavor of the zucchini and yellow squash is significantly different from other preparations, but the presentation is more interesting and appealing, and the texture is firm rather than mushy. The French have a saying that goes something like, “A feast for the eyes first, and then for the mouth.” Presentation matters so much, especially when it comes to vegetables. In short, if it looks delicious, your picky eaters will be more likely to try it with hopeful anticipation rather than dread.
This recipe gave us four servings because I served it with big slices of French bread. We also had an appetizer before and dessert after. Keep that in mind when considering the portion sizes.
3- Medium zucchinis
2 – Large yellow squash
2 tbsp. – Olive oil
3 – Cloves of garlic
1 cup – Corn frozen or fresh
5 – Spanish padrón peppers (If you are not able to find these peppers, one Anaheim chili will do nicely.)
2 cups – Shredded red cabbage
2 – Salmon fillets – fresh, 6 oz, with or without skin
1 – Medium lemon
1 – Large avocado
1. Julienne the zucchini and yellow squash and set aside (See tip 1)
2. Sauté in olive oil over medium heat: garlic, corn, peppers, and red cabbage. Pay attention to the level of the heat. If the heat is too high, the vegetables may burn without being properly cooked. The cabbage should be very tender, and the corn, garlic, and peppers slightly brown.
4. Slice the avocado and set aside. Wait until close to serving time to slice the avocado so it does not start to brown.
5. In the same pan that you used for vegetables, sauté the julianne zucchini and yellow squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper for approximately 1 minute. This step is just to heat the zucchini and yellow squash. The zucchini and yellow squash “noodles” will release water and reduce to mush if overcooked.
6. Place the zucchini and yellow squash noodles on the plate first, then a serving of the sautéd vegetable mix, arrange the avocado around the edge of plate, and top it with the salmon.
7. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the entire dish.
Tip 1 – Julienne Vegetables:
Julienning vegetables is easy if you have the right tools. I have two gadgets that help with this process. The first is a mandoline and the second is a peeler with a julienne setting. I prefer the peeler. Purists may not consider this real julienning, but my peeler says it’s a julienne setting, and so that’s what I call it.