Super-Soft Zucchini With Harissa And Lemon




Super-Soft Zucchini With Harissa And Lemon

Photographs copyright © 2020 by Jonathan Lovekin

Zucchini, strictly speaking, aren’t controversial, but they do tend to get a pretty lukewarm reaction from many, including, regrettably, two of our test-kitchen colleagues. The reason for this is probably zucchini’s high water content, which tends to make them, well, watery. There are plenty of ways to combat this—frying and grilling are two examples—but we actually use it to our advantage here, cooking the zucchini slowly in their own juices, making them fantastically soft and enhancing their flavour by a long soak with fried garlic. (And in the process, we also managed to win over our two zucchini-iffy colleagues, we’re happy to announce.) —Excerpted from 'Flavor,' by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage


  • 1/3 cup/80ml olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves , finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp rose harissa
  • 1 red chile , finely chopped
  • 1/2 preserved lemon , finely chopped, discarding any seeds (1 tbsp)
  • 4 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 lb 2 oz/1kg zucchini , finely sliced
  • table salt
  • 1/2 cup/10g basil leaves , roughly torn


  • Place a large, nonstick sauté pan on medium-high heat and add the olive oil and garlic. Fry gently for 4 minutes, stirring often, until soft, golden, and aromatic. You don’t want the garlic to become at all browned or crispy, so decrease the heat if necessary. Remove 3 tbsp oil, along with half the garlic, and transfer to a small bowl. Add the harissa, chile, preserved lemon, and lemon juice to the bowl; stir together; and set aside.
  • Return the pan to high heat and add the zucchini and 1 1/4 tsp salt. Cook for about 18 minutes, stirring often, until the zucchini are very soft but still mostly holding their shape (you don’t want the zucchini to brown, so decrease the heat if necessary). Stir in half the basil and transfer to a platter. Spoon the harissa mixture over the zucchini. Let sit for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and finish with the remaining basil before serving.

Recipe Tip:

The zucchini are very good hot, but are better after 15 minutes or so, or even at room temperature, once the flavors have had a chance to get to know each other. Make them a day in advance, if you want to get ahead; just hold off on adding the basil until you’re ready to serve.

Check out another recipe from Ottolenghi’s New Cookbook, Flavor: The Ultimate Roasting-Pan Ragu (it’s vegan!).

Excerpted from Flavor by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage. Text copyright © 2020 Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Jonathan Lovekin, except page 211 @ Louise Hagger. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Nishant Choksi. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.