This thrilling side dish is one of my favorite ways to eat the little summer squashes called calabacitas that you find in markets in Mexico and that are very similar to zucchini. An aromatic sauté of onion, garlic, and chile is enough to make the squash and corn special, but roasted tomatoes, cream (just a bit), and cheese push the dish into unforgettable territory.
1. Set the oven or toaster oven to broil and preheat. Alternatively, you can preheat the oven to 500°F. If you're using the oven broiler, position the rack 8 inches from the heat source.
2. Core the tomatoes and cut a small "X" through the skin on the opposite ends. Put the tomatoes, cored sides up, on a foil-lined baking pan and roast until their tops have blackened and the tomatoes are cooked to the core, 20 to 30 minutes. Slip the skins from the tomatoes, discard the skins, and coarsely chop the tomatoes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 6- to 7-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, garlic, and chile and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Add the corn, oregano, nutmeg, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the corn is lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until it is just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, crema, cheese, and salt and cook, stirring, 5 minutes more. Season to taste with additional salt, and stir in the cilantro just before serving.
5. This dish keeps in the refrigerator for up to two days.
A Thought from Lynne: The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program is our go-to guide for what to buy when we head to the market. The program rates fish and seafood species as "Best Choice," "Good Alternative," and "Avoid" based on contamination, ocean-friendliness, and sustainability.
An app is now available for both iPhones and Android. Your phone's GPS enables loading the right guides for your area. Take a look at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_iPhone.aspx
Reprinted with permission from Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez with JJ Goode and Shelley Wiseman (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2011). Copyright © 2011 by Roberto Santibañez.
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