I once believed I didn’t like zucchini and always passed on it, fearing a soggy, blah eating experience. Slowly, I came around to sautéed zucchini (the more butter, the better). Later, I decided to really go for it and made a batch of ratatouille; dreading the sog, I was pleasantly surprised to find tender vegetables brimming with flavor. It turns out, zucchini’s airy structure takes on flavor beautifully, and even at its most cooked, collapses into a yielding (not soggy!), buttery texture.
Dips and spreads are often served to make vegetables appealing to people who wouldn’t otherwise be interested (like children and party guests), but lately, I’ve been interested in dips made from the vegetables themselves. In this case, I roasted fennel and zucchini, for concentrated flavor and a hint of sweetness. Fennel lends a silky quality, while zucchini adds texture and a wonderful creaminess. There’s olive oil, too, plus smoked sea salt, black pepper, and a generous hit of Chipotle Tabasco, a condiment that adds a surprising hit of smoky depth and flavorful heat to this simple dip. To accompany the dip, I toasted up a batch of triangular ciabatta croutons, striking the ideal balance between crisp exterior and tender center.
This roasted fennel and zucchini dip is the first of five (!) posts we’ll be bringing you this week. Each post will feature recipes made from the ten ingredients listed below, selected by Stephanie of i am a food blog. Stay tuned for a host of creative, simple, and flavorful eats, and keep an eye on #TABASCO10 to see what we and the other bloggers are cooking up this week!
A smoky roasted fennel and zucchini dip recipe with crisp ciabatta croutons.
- 2 small zucchini , trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (for 1 1/2 cups cubed zucchini)
- 1 medium-sized fennel bulb , trim, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (for 1 1/2 cups sliced fennel)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , divided
- smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons Chipotle Tabasco Sauce , plus more for serving
- 4 (1/2-inch thick) slices ciabatta, cut into triangles
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium-sized bowl, toss zucchini cubes and fennel slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a generous pinch each smoked sea salt and pepper. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Slide into oven and cook 15 minutes. Flip vegetables, and cook another 10 - 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and edges are a light golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, brush both sides of ciabatta triangles with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and slide into the 400 degree F oven. Bake 6 minutes, flip, and bake 4 - 6 minutes longer, or until croutons are crisp and a light golden brown hue.
Spoon cooked vegetables into the bowl of your food processor, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and Chipotle Tabasco. Pulse several times until mixture is smooth. Add smoked sea salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm dip with croutons, and a bottle of Chipotle Tabasco.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Tabasco.