Here's the truth: I don't love cooking, especially since I have two picky kids (and a husband who isn't shy about voicing his opinions either). Dinner is a win if even one member of my family likes what I make, in addition to myself. (50% may be a failing grade in most schools but I'll take it.)
Many a meal labeled kid-friendly by The New York Times has been dubbed "too spicy" (when there is nothing, and I mean, nothing spicy in it) and died an ignominious death (or worse, has become mom's leftovers for however long it takes to get rid of the stuff) in this house.
Another truth: I hate zucchini. Actively avoid the stuff. I will not bake zucchini bread, make zoodles, or clamor for a neighbor's squash overgrowth, ever. Still, life is about trying new things, and I figured I can always blame TikTok for peppering me mercilessly with how-to videos that looked weirdly good. Thus, after a long internal debate mostly resolved when I realized I would only have to wash one pan afterward, I tried making Thomas Keller-method zucchini.
@allweeat I came across this popular zucchini recipe and had to make it! The main concept is that the Chef scores the zucchini, sears it and then finishes it off in the oven. I decided to try it out for myself. Here's a super simple way to enjoy it with garlic 🧄 Parmesan 🧀 and lemon 🍋 #zucchini #thomaskeller #recipe #vegetarian #healthy #food #sidedish #cooking #parmesan #garlic ♬ Sure Thing (sped up) - Miguel
The recipe is pretty simple: Split the infernal squash in two, crosshatch the split surface, and then salt generously. Set aside for 20 minutes, soak up the moisture exuded by the salted zucchini, then cook in an oiled pan for 6 minutes. After that, simply stick it in an oven at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. So easy!
Well, it wasn't that simple, at least for someone who cooks reluctantly at best. My pan initially wasn't hot enough, so after 6 minutes, I had very little of the brown, toasty surface I expected. Putting the pan back on the heat for another 6 minutes, though, did the trick. I also made a major miscalculation and realized the pan wouldn't fit into my (much faster to heat up) Ninja Foodi countertop oven. But even that mistake was quickly fixed: I just turned on the oven and, when it hit 450 degrees, stuck the pan in there.
The result was pretty much what I'd seen on TikTok — a crispy top, and a buttery interior. To my shock, it didn't taste bad either. I used garlic-infused oil and sprinkled feta on top, but I wanted to see if the plain version made me feel any differently about zucchini. And? Not sure if I'm a true believer, but it was okay. C'mon, that's a win! Unless the green monster slabs magically transformed into almost any other vegetable, I wasn't going to suddenly love the stuff. But this dish was palatable — and my husband and older kid liked it. They would eat it again!
The smaller kid wasn't hungry (or said she wasn't) and didn't try it, but there's a chance she'd like it too (or hate it — I can't expect miracles). The verdict means this TikTok recipe is going into mealtime rotation. If I'm the only one who says, "meh," that's okay. And if I add mint and lemon zest next time, plus cilantro or other herbs, I might finally come around to this dreaded veggie.