Sometimes if you cut a vegetable in a different fashion it will make it seem entirely new. It's certainly the case in this dish where zucchini are sliced into spaghetti strands, then salted before cooking. The salt draws out all the excess moisture and ensures a firm texture, and the strands are so thin that they cook extremely fast.
To achieve the spaghetti shape you'll need some sort of a mandoline or vegetable slicer. I use an inexpensive Japanese-made Benriner slicer, which is simply a plastic rectangular board holding a razor-sharp angled blade. If you don t have one of these slicing tools in your kitchen, you can shred zucchini in a food processor using a shredder disk or grate it on the largest holes of a hand grater.
- 2 small to medium zucchini squash (1 pound)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh spearmint
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cutting and salting the zucchini: Cut the stems and bottom tips off the zucchini and slice them on a mandoline or other vegetable slicer into long spaghetti-like strips, about 1/8 inch wide and 1/8 inch thick. Toss them with the salt in a medium mixing bowl, then transfer them to a fine sieve or colander and set it over the mixing bowl. Let the zucchini sit for 15 minutes at room temperature, then gently squeeze it in your hands to extract some of the water. It will give off at least 1/2 cup.
Sautéing: Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic to the pan and stir until it loses its raw fragrance but is not browned, less than 1 minute. Add the zucchini and mint and toss with tongs just until heated through, about 1 minutes. Taste and season with pepper.
Herb Substitutions: In place of the mint, use an equal amount of shredded basil, lemon balm, or perilla.