Happy Zucchini Birthday to Kevin!

April 11, 2008

My husband joins me today in becoming an age that is one year closer to 30, so I have to start by saying: Happy Birthday, Kev! And if you are wondering what kind of woman posts about vegetables on her husband’s birthday, you should rest assured. You see, I’m in the midst of making donuts (birthday breakfast) as I type this. And, later today, while the Birthday Boy is at work (I don’t have class on Fridays), I’ll be baking his birthday cake and wrapping his gift. And, then, we’ve got a big weekend of birthday festivities lined up. So there.

Okay, so maybe I’m the one who’s feeling a little guilty posting about veggies on Kevin’s birthday. But I don’t know why—because this warm zucchini salad, which we ate alongside our burritos last Saturday, is really pretty terrific. I’m constantly on the lookout for accompaniments for fajitas, enchiladas and the like. Don’t get me wrong: I love a heap of black beans or (even better) a pile of tortilla chips and salsa, but both of those things always feel a little … redundant. Not to mention heavy.

(Click more for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

So, this salad was born. Neither heavy nor redundant, this salad was almost sultry in its smokiness (lots of cumin), yet still bright (sprigs of cilantro and spritzes of lime). And it had a kick (a teensy pinch of cayenne and a dusting of red pepper flakes) and a crunch (salty, roasted pepitas), to boot. In short, it was delicious. If not quite birthday-worthy. For that, we’ll stick to donuts and cake.

Warm, Cumin-Scented Zucchini Salad

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved and sliced on the diagonal into 1/2-inch half-moons
1 medium onion, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch half-rings
2 limes, one juiced and one sliced into wedges (divided)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons roasted pepitas
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced, plus additional sprigs for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and onion; saute for about five minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the juice of one lime; stir for one minute. Add the cumin, cayenne and salt; stir for one minute.

Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the pepitas and minced cilantro. Transfer the salad to a low serving dish and garnish by tucking lime wedges and cilantro sprigs throughout. Serve warm.

Yield: 4 side dish-sized portions


4 Responses to “Happy Zucchini Birthday to Kevin!”

  1. RecipeGirl Says:

    I too am always looking for proper accompaniments to Mexican food. Rice and beans are sometimes just too heavy for what I’m serving. I’m acquiring a good selection of Mexican-style salads, so this is perfect.

    Can’t wait to see your donuts!

  2. eggsonsunday Says:

    Yum! I, too, am always looking for side dishes to serve with our burritos and enchiladas. This looks great; I love the addition of the pepitas (I just like to say “pepitas!”) 🙂 Hope the birthday festivities are fun! –Amy

  3. Emily Says:

    Gosh, this sounds fantastic and light. I’m sorry spring is late for you. Here in Dallas its brilliant! This would be perfect with fajitas on the deck.

  4. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Says:

    RecipeGirl: Thanks! Donut post is forthcoming …

    Amy: Pepitas make everything better, I think.

    Emily: Thanks! We’ll get spring eventually. It just might be June by then … 🙂

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