Zucchini and Asparagus Melange

With summer, and asparagus season, slipping away I thought I should get this out right away. I’ve been meaning to post it for months now. I began making this a few months ago, trying to add variation to my veggies. It was so good, I’ve been making it weekly in big batches. I, and Wally, never get tired of it.
Zucchini Asparagus Melange
As with most of my recipes, especially sautés like this one, it is wildly variable.
I put down some guidelines, the rest is up to you.

This could be great done on a BBQ as well, in one of those grilling baskets (without the shredded cauliflower variation)

This takes about 15 minutes from start to finish – it is so easy yet so delicious, the perfect recipe!

Basic Ingredients:
Tomato (red pepper is good too, but there are so many options)
Olive Oil or Butter
Fennel Seed
Salt, Pepper, Basil (fresh or dried) and whatever else tickles your fancy.
I have a lavender salt from Sonoma (I carry it in my shop) that I love in this recipe.
The lavender adds a hint of sharpness
Touch of Balsamic

Add ins:
Leek or onion (sauté first and then add zucchini)
Red Pepper
Shredded Cauliflower (I put my in the Cuisinart and do a whole head and use it all week in various things – great sautéed with an egg in the morning, just like hash browns)
Once again, I will let you tickle your fancy on this one. Go for it.

Optional, but delicious
Pecorino Cheese or Vella or Manchego or Parmesan or any cheese you like

Here’s what I do:

Cut up the zucchini in strips, a julienne if you will
If using leeks I do those as well now
I also cut up the asparagus – I use the tips and part of the stem
Cut your tomato – or do it as your zucchini is cooking

Get a good frying pan and put in olive oil or butter and melt over medium to medium high heat.
When hot add in leeks if using or just add in zucchini.
Sauté until soft, add seasoning (the lavender salt is good here).

Take out of the pan.

Add in Asparagus (may need a bit more oil, I like butter with asparagus but that is me)
Add in Fennel seed – just a touch and season as you like it.
After just a minute or so, add in the tomatoes. You just want to heat them.

Don’t overcook the Asparagus. It takes just a few minutes, they turn bright green and should be a bit crisp.

Splash the asparagus with a dash of Balsamic Vinegar.

Put all the vegetables in a bowl and if you want, grate a bit of cheese over it.
The Vella (an aged jack from Sonoma) is wonderful as is the pecorino, but I’ve used various cheese. I once added a little of the amazing Crave Brothers Mascarpone to this and it made it rich and decadent.

If you like the cauliflower idea, you can sauté that first and take it out or add the zucchini to it.
Shredded cauliflower has a rice like consistency and adds a nice texture, as well as lots of nutrients.

Be sure to cook everything lightly – undercook veggies rather than overcook.

I have added this mixture to the Trader Joe’s cooked lentils mixed with rice to lighten them up – delicious and a complete meal.

Of course this could be served with pasta.
And so on and so on….

Go ahead, get chopping and creative!

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