Zucchini: Glazing and wilting zucchini

If you think you hate zucchini, or that it's simply boring, it's probably because it wasn't prepared right. Contrary to popular wisdom, summer squash is at its worst when cooked to "crisp-tender." It really needs time to develop its full sweet, nutty flavor. Of all the myriad ways of preparing zucchini, there are two basic preparations every cook should know.

Glazing: Cut the zucchini into good-sized chunks, put it in a pan with enough water to cover the bottom and a good glug of olive oil and maybe a smashed garlic clove (no, make that certainly). Cover and cook over medium heat until the zucchini is just short of soft (5 to 7 minutes). Remove the lid and crank the heat all the way up. It will brown slightly and the water will evaporate, leaving a nice glaze made of oil and zucchini juice.

Wilting: This should be done any time you plan on serving zucchini raw (as in a salad). It's simple: Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces, put it in a colander and salt it generously (tossing to coat well). Set it aside (in a sink or over a bowl to catch the liquid) until the squash begins to soften (you'll see the sharp edges become rounded). Then rinse well and pat dry.

— Russ Parsons

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