Memorial Day Feast: Dijon Dill Trio and Grilled Zucchini

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This Memorial Day we were a bit adventurous and did something a bit unusual for us- I tried my hand at baking salmon. Despite my Alaskan Native heritage, I’ve never been crazy about salmon, and being a strict vegetarian for 9 years or so did nothing to get me more familiar with either eating or preparing salmon. But, since our experience in Japan where I found it very difficult to experience restaurant cuisine without having the occasional fish, we have incorporated some seafood into our diet. I’m not particularly skilled at preparing fish, but in this case I followed a recipe from an ancient Bon Appetite magazine and turned out some pretty decent dill dijon salmon, if I do say so myself. I also made some broiled dill dijon tofu, making this friendly for vegetarian and non vegetarian households alike, and paired it all with dill dijon greens (mustard, but I think kale would be better), roasted potatoes, sweet corn on the cob. However, my vegetarian taste buds are still pretty dominant, because my absolute favorite thing I made was the appetizer- a delicious grilled zucchini dish topped with a olive, tomato, caper concoction. We don’t even like zucchini- but prepared this way, the best part of the zucchini comes forth and the worst flavor elements are hidden to make an absolutely yummy dish. If you think you don’t like zucchini but the selection at the farmer’s market is making you wish you did- try my recipe from a Farmer’s market cookbook. It’s amazing!

Note: My gluten free mustard didn’t include mustard seeds, but they add a lot of visual appeal if you can find it.You could also sprinkle indian brown mustard seeds… Tofu prepared this way is sweet and light, and would be great in a salad.

Grilled Zucchini with Tomato and Olive Salad
Ingredients
1 lb fresh zucchini and/or squash
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp fresh minced thyme
1 medium sized tomato cut in small dice
1 lg garlic clove, minced
16 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (or regular blk olives)
1 tbsp chopped capers
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp pine nuts
8-10 fresh basil leaves
Directions
Heat or otherwise prepare grill or grill pan. (charcoal or propane grill is best) Cut zucchini lengthwise 1/4 inch thick, baste in 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle fresh thyme until evenly coated.

Combine diced tomato cubes, garlic, olives, capers, and red wine vinegar in a bowl and put aside.

Salt and pepper zucchini or squash rounds and grill until marked with grill stripes (3 minutes or less depending on heat). Place on serving platter when done, spread tomato olive mixture on top and season with salt and pepper. sprinkle with pine nuts and attractively cut basil and serve.

Notes
DH and I don’t even like zucchini, and we gobbled this whole recipe up in a night. A good pizza-less “pizza”- very tasty tapa dish. Yum! Perfect for using fresh farmer’s market zucchini available everywhere this year.
Dijon Mustard Dill Salmon (Or Tofu)
Ingredients
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 lb baby new potatoes in 1/4 in slices

2 8 oz salmon fillets OR 1 1/2 packages firm tofu, pressed lightly and cut into thin rectangles (1/4 in thick)

1 bunch rainbow kale deveined and sliced into ribbons

Directions
Heat oven to 350 F. Mix first four ingredients and leave at room temperature, covered, for up to two hours. If making TOFU version, spray pan with nonstick spray and coat tofu with 4 tsp sauce, and bake for 15 minutes. Put potatoes in small bowl and coat with 1 tbsp of sauce, tossing. If making TOFU version, turn tofu over and then add potatoes around the edges in single layer for 15 more minutes. If making SALMON version, potatoes bake alone for 15 minutes and then get pushed over to make room for salmon (basted with sauce), which bakes for about 18 more minutes. If making TOFU version, keep turning tofu over and potatoes over at 15 minute intervals until golden brown. If potatoes are done too early, take them out and continue to bake tofu.

While these are baking, place kale in skillet with 2 tbsp sauce and stir over medium high heat until wilted and flavorful. Divide up dishes and plate with greens, Tofu OR Salmon, and potatoes.

Notes
I made both salmon and tofu, and both were very good. Tofu would probably benefit from marinating in the sauce before baking, but it got nicely golden brown and faintly sweet. Lovely dill flavor. We served it with fresh corn on the cob and a little leftover grilled zucchini.

Additional Pictures

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2 Responses to “Memorial Day Feast: Dijon Dill Trio and Grilled Zucchini”

  1. This whole menu sounds great and I’ve got dill coming out of all parts of my garden so this is a great inspiration. Thanks!

    -Rachel

  2. [...] I’m pretty sure we all have vegetables we love to hide. You know what I’m talking about. The vegetables that you’d just as soon not eat. The vegetable you had so many negative encounters with that just the memory of it makes you shudder. You can remember the yucky texture, the yucky flavor, the overwhelmingly yucky essence of it. And, now that you’re a grown up, you think you’re out of the danger zone and just maybe never have to have that vegetable ever again, if you play your cards right. But a little part of you says- but… isn’t that vegetable good for me? Isn’t it gluten free and full of vitamins and minerals- so, shouldn’t I try to make it palatable somehow? My vegetable that I love to hate and love to hide is the zucchini. I remember it as the mushy squash tainting sautes and curries, the bland illegitimate child of the sweet pumpkin and bland cucumber- the squash that squishes in your teeth and has that underlying bitterness under its watery sweetness. Yes, I have had my fair share of traumatic zucchini experiences, to the point that I generally beg servers to just “leave it out! leave it out” of green thai curries or (if they will permit it) vegetable fajita stir fries.But, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, the farmer’s market is quite beguiling, and when I see the latest in season vegetable piled up so beautifully on the farmers’ tables, sometimes I just can’t resist them. Even when, in my secret hearts of hearts, I have serious doubts about their yum factor. I was astonished to find myself enjoying zucchini recently, along with the equally skeptical DH, in a delicious recipe for a grilled zucchini salad. This gave me hope- maybe zucchini could actually be a yum, prepared in the right way. As I was flipping through my Moosewood Cafe cookbook, I came across an intriguing recipe using zucchini as the base for a pizza crust. It combined cheese, zucchini, eggs, and just a little bit of flour, which meant to me that gluten probably played a minor role in the recipe and the flour could easily be exchanged with a gluten free flour. Also, the protein of the cheese and eggs combined would make the low protein content of the flour I chose inconsequential. So, I boldly went ahead with yet another sneaky wife attempt to get the DH to eat zucchini. Ok, I was also trying to trick myself into it, but it’s more fun if the DH is involved in these little experiments. I made up my crust, baked it up and tried a little sliver before topping it. It was very, very good! Actually, it would have been good just like that as a cheesy “flatbread/quiche” type thing, but I wanted to really go all out, so I topped it with marinara sauce ,veggies, and cheese and baked it until it was almost unrecognizable as a zucchini dish. My face gave it away to DH, though, who right before he bit in, said “OK! What are you trying to hide in this dish???” He knows me too well. And, actually, he did guess that it was made from zucchini. But, that didn’t stop him from gobbling up the pizza and complaining when I tried to take part of his pizza. Apparently cheese will hide a multitude of sins, and this recipe turned zucchini from a yuck to a resounding yum, not unlike the magic of zucchini bread that transforms it into a moist, delicious, sweet bread ingredient. So, the next time you have a surplus of zucchini in your fridge that you would rather hide than eat, instead of making yet another sweet zucchini bread, a savory, delicious pizza crust or flatbread? [...]

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