Zucchini Done Right

Calabacitas.  In Spanish it means little gourds or little squashes.  To me it means early and late summer deliciousness! This is the dish I make when the first squashes are ready, the first chiles are roasted, and the sweet corn is perfect.  It is also the last summer dish I make using all fresh ingredients; last zucchini, last sweet corn, last chiles.

I know, I know.  By the end of the summer we are all a little zucchini-d out, and can hardly think of anything else we’d like to do with it.  The usual repertoire of zucchini breads and all manner of grilled or roasted zucchinis have become tired and you are more than ready to call it a season where zucchini is concerned.

But wait! Don’t let summer pass you by without one last one-skillet dish that will have you wishing you had done this all summer long!  Let this be the dish that leaves you wanting more zucchini, and wishing your tired old squash plants have one more squash left in them.


Serves 4 (or in my house, 2)

  • 2 medium zucchinis and/or summer squashes, chopped into half-moons, ½ inch thick
  • 6 anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped, or 2 small cans of chopped green chiles
  • 1 clove garlic, minced into a paste
  • 1 or 2 strips of bacon (optional), chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • corn kernels from 2 fresh ears of corn, or ½ c. frozen kernels
  • 1-2 T. olive oil, if needed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Roast, peel, chop your anaheim chiles (or empty cans into a bowl) and mix well with the garlic and some salt.  Set aside.
  2. Cook bacon (if using) in a frying pan until crispy.  Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set aside.
  3. Return frying pan to medium heat and add onion to bacon fat.  Sauté until fragrant and translucent, avoiding browning.
  4. Add squashes to pan and raise heat to medium-high.  You may need to add some olive oil to coat squashes.  Stir at intervals that allow the squashes to brown slightly between stirrings.
  5. When squashes are cooked through, and have released some of their water, add corn kernels and cook until heated through.
  6. Add chile mixture to the pan and stir until heated through.
  7. Add bacon (if using) back to pan and stir until heated through.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve as an incredible side dish to anything, on its own, over eggs for breakfast, in a quesadilla with cheese.  Trust me.  You cannot go wrong.
  10. Enjoy!

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