Tuscan summer. Zucchini with fresh garlic and oregano

Date giugno 27, 2011

On Friday, coming back home from work, I stopped at the local farmer’s market, the one just opened a few minutes from my house, and I filled my recycled cotton bag with honey scented melons, the freshest garlic, crisp zucchini and small ruby red plums, sweet and juicy. The vegetables were still warm, freshly picked, lightly dusted with dark soil. They were so fresh and carefully grown that could have been the vegetables from my garden.

Once I got home, I could not wait one more day, I wanted to cook immediately the zucchini, firm to the touch and fragrant green. I wanted to use the fresh garlic as well. It was the first time I had found fresh garlic at the market: usually the smell of garlic cloves is acute and pervasive, but this time I was amazed, the cloves were lunar white, with a distinctive earthy tone, juicy and fragrant.

The Summer, now carefree dancing in the cornfields, suggested me a perfect recipe for my crisp zucchini: a sprig of fragrant oregano from the pot on the garden wall and a clove of fresh juicy garlic, to enhance and mark the flavours. Once again a simple dish, almost obvious, cooked in five minutes, styled and photographed in three. Yet this recipe won its place on the Monday morning post, the one that I usually study and refine the most.

So today I’m posting a side dish, a category rather absent on my blog. If a dish of juicy tomatoes seasoned with Maldon salt and apple cider vinegar can save more than a meal, it is also true that sometimes it’s important to make a change and turn the side dish into the true star of the meal!

Zucchini with fresh garlic and oregano
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 4
You'll need
  • 5 medium zucchini
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon of dried oregano)
  • salt
  • pepper
How to make it
  1. Wash the zucchini and cut them into not too large cubes.
  2. Crush a clove of fresh garlic with the back of a knife, put it in a pan with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and let it infuse its flavour for a minute.
  3. Add the zucchini, the fresh oregano leaves, salt and pepper and let cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat without the lid, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. It will take just 5 minutes to cook if the zucchini are fresh and tender, just like mine, otherwise you can cook them a 10 minutes more, if you prefer them more tneder or if they are not so fresh, adding a tablespoon of hot water. It's better to leave them slightly crisp and al dente, to enjoy their freshness.
  4. Serve the zucchini warm, sprinkled with some leaves of fresh oregano.

Summer, summer … I recently mentioned summer several times, now I can eventually show you my summer! That’s where I live, indeed better said, that’s where I’m so lucky to live: in these golden days I just feel I’m living in my corner of Eden, the place where I chose to stay, the place that belongs to me and to which I belong.

And now, the big news! I wanted to inform you that last week my very first book was published! It is called My Grandma’s Recipes – a year in my kitchen. I can hardly believe I’m writing these words, my-book, but apparently it’s all true! In the book you will find about eighty recipes, taken from the blog and organized by season, all accompanied by a photo. It is written in Italian and English. I will soon upload a page here with some more information. If you happen to be in Tuscany in these days and want to come and say hi, there will be two book launch events:

  1. Monday the 27th of June in Siena – 6.30 pm Bookshop at Palazzo Ravizza, Pian dei Mantellini, 34 (yes, this very evening!)
  2. Tuesday the 28th of June in Poggibonsi – 6.30 pm Libreria di Poggibonsi, Via Trento, 19.

The book is sold in Tuscany, Milan and Rome in bookshops and supermarkets. If you can not find it or do not live in these areas, you can also order it by mail to juls@julskitchen.com!

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13 Responses to “Tuscan summer. Zucchini with fresh garlic and oregano”

  1. Zita said:

    Yay! Great vegetarian recipe! I love zucchini!

    Your photos are beautiful… Tuscany is a dream place! I really need to go and visit you ASAP! :)


  2. Roger Stowell said:

    A wonderfully simple and emotive post that reflects my view of summer. The zucchini/courgettes are on the way into the pan as I write. Well done.


  3. Rosa said:

    A wonderful dish! Tuscany is so beautiful and your summery pictures too.




  4. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts said:

    Congrats on the book – that is amazing!! This zucchini looks delicious! what a simple but flavorful way to make zucchini.


  5. The Food Hunter said:

    Congratulations on your book!


  6. bianca said:

    Lovely photos as always! And congrats on the book- such a wonderful time:)

    This dish looks lovely I cant wait to try!


  7. Tandy said:

    Well done on the book and you are so lucky to have markets :) I love Sienna so I hope you had great launch in the beautiful city :)


  8. Sally - My Custard Pie said:

    Congratulations – what a lovely title and a wonderful acheivement. Those words “If you happen to be in Tuscany…” Sigh


  9. PolaM said:

    Congrats on the book!

    I was just looking for a good recipe to cook my homegrown zucchini! this looks like a winner!


  10. Tiffany said:

    Congratulations on your book, that is AWESOME! And this zucchini recipe is absolutely perfect, simple is always better….especially when the ingredients are so fresh!


  11. Marisa said:

    I simply adore the simplicity of the flavours in this dish. Definitely a keeper.


    Juls @ Juls' Kitchen Risposta:

    I love this dish as well! it can soothe your soul!


  12. My 7 links projects: leafing through my on line life | Juls' Kitchen said:

    [...] A post whose success surprised me: Tuscan summer and zucchini with fresh garlic and oregano [...]

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