This is another vegetarian Lebanese dish with an olive oil base. It’s always a success. Easy to make and as it is a cold dish, you can prepare it in advance – even a day or two before.

Although the zucchini has its ancestor in Americas, the varieties of squash typically called “zucchini” were developed in northern Italy in the second half of the 19th century. I was surprised to learn that a zucchini or summer squash can reach nearly a meter (39 inches) in length, but is usually harvested immature at 15–25 cm (6-8 inches). Wow!

For your general knowledge, in a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable; it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, zucchinis are fruits, a type of botanical berry called a “pepo”.


Prep time: 1 hour
Rest time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

2 lbs (1 kg) Zucchini
1 Bunch of Fresh mint
1 Onion
1 Garlic clove
1 Diced tomato can (800g – 28oz)
1 tsp dry mint
3 tbs Olive oil
2 cups (500ml) Vegetable oil
1 tsp Salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1- Cut the head of the zucchinis and cut them lengthwise to make 1cm (1/3 inch) slices. Place the slices in a colander, salt them, and leave them aside to rest for at least an hour to release their water. Place a plate under the colander to collect the water.

2-Mop the zucchini slices with a clean dishcloth or paper towel. In a frying pan, pour enough vegetable oil to cover the surface.  Start frying the zucchini in the oil. To avoid burning them, reduce the heat when the oil is boiling. It takes three minutes on each side to brown them. Pour oil each time you see the frying pan dry.

3- Place the zucchini in the colander to get rid of the excess of oil. Leave them at least an hour.

4- Preheat the oven at 400° F (200°C).

5- Chop the onion and the garlic very finely. In a non-stick frying pan, pour the olive oil and add the onions first. When they are transparent, add the garlic.

6- Chop the fresh mint and add it with the diced tomatoes and the dry mint.  Leave it on very low heat for 20 min.

7- Cover the bottom of a baking dish with a layer of zucchini, pour the half of the tomato mix and cover it with another layer of zucchini. Top it off with the second half of the tomato mix. Put the preparation in the oven for an hour.

As I said before, this dish is served cold. You can prepare it the day before and leave it in the fridge.

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