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Zucchini with Garlic and Olive Oil (Calabacines al Ajillo)

4 to 6 Servings

30 minutes

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Spanish gambas al ajillo—shrimp cooked with generous amounts of garlic and olive oil—is a popular tapa, but the “al ajillo” technique isn’t strictly for shrimp. It can be employed with a number of different ingredients, including vegetables. Here we use zucchini to make calabacines al ajillo, also a Spanish classic (and for fans of fungi, we include a mushroom version, below). Cut into spears, quickly cooked, then left to stand for a few minutes before serving, the summer squash soaks up the heady notes of toasted garlic and the fruity, peppery olive oil. Serve with lots of warm, crusty bread for dipping into the oil or as a side to seared or grilled white fish. This dish is great served warm or even at room temperature.

4 to 6



Don’t leave the seeds in the zucchini. The seedy cores quickly turn soft and spongy with cooking and release moisture that would water down the dish. Be sure to turn up the heat to medium-high after adding the zucchini to the skillet to help maintain the temperature of the pan and oil.

30 minutes



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Tricia S.
July 17, 2022
Good for Guests
I used a pale, firm squash variety of zucchini from my garden for this recipe (a type of calabacita). The removal of the seeds made a positive difference to the texture. The seeded, whole chilis arbol and splash of vinegar were just right. There were no leftovers.
Janine W.
June 14, 2022
Very Yummy
I made this last night. The family really enjoyed it. It was very simple to make and it was nice to change up the typical broccoli or corn vegetable side with a new one.