You'll Change Your Mind About Zucchini With This Recipe

My partner, Mike, and I have been on a huge vegetable kick lately. We must be growing up or something, because all of a sudden, we can’t get enough vegetables. When I was a kid, I don’t remember eating vegetables at all; I think the only vegetables I ate were carrots and potatoes, neither of which count as leafy greens. In fact, I don't think a piece of lettuce ever passed my lips until I was about 10 years old. I’m really not sure where I got all my nutrients from, besides the Flintstones vitamins that I was obsessed with. Zucchini, when I was a kid, was much like eggplant in my book: slimy and weirdly textured. Now, though, I can’t get enough.
I find that the trick with zucchini is not to overcook it. Since zucchini is naturally pretty watery, it turns into a mush if you cook it down too much. This is especially true for zucchini noodles. Also note that zucchini doesn't need too much heat; all you want to do is soften it a bit.

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Photo: Courtesy of I Am A Food Blog.
Shrimp & Zucchini Noodles With Fennel, Lemon & Herbs
Adapted from
Bon Appétit
Serves 2

2 tbsp neutral oil, divided
1/2 lb large shrimp, deveined (and peeled, if desired)
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced lengthwise, fronds saved
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/2 lemon, seeds removed, very thinly sliced, divided
2 small zucchinis, spiralized using the smallest blade
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
Olive oil, to taste
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

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1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until slightly charred, pink, and cooked through. Season generously with salt and pepper, remove from the pan, and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the fennel slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and soft, 10-12 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and half of the lemon slices. Cook until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the zucchini noodles, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing, until tender and cooked through, 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness of "zoodles."

5. Add the shrimp back into the pan and toss to combine.

6. In a small bowl, toss the cilantro, fennel fronds, and remaining lemon slices with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve on top of the shrimp and zucchini noodles.

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