Our friends Jessica and George like the things we do, which are mainly eating, drinking, and traveling. When we see them several times a year it’s a time for epic food marathons. George is a chef with 2 restaurants under his belt, training in Boston and a pedigree of growing up English and Spanish in Venezuela. So he’s got a big set of crayons in the kitchen.
I can honestly say some of my favorite meals have been with them. The day before they got married Jessica picked me up at the airport in with a pea coat in hand. I had just moved to Atlanta from Texas and was not equipped for a February wedding in Boston. From the airport we went to their home in Dorchester. George made us lunch. I remember it exactly, but I doubt he does. George: you made a porcini mushroom risotto with parsley; we drank a Sam Adams seasonal ale, it was you, me, Jess and your mom and it was great, perfect even. A warm meal and a heavy beer on a snowy day. I believe it’s the best risotto I’ve ever had based on that memory alone. And it snowed and snowed all night and we have the wedding pictures to prove it.
George has continued to feed me and Jim over the years and introduce us to things we didn’t know we couldn’t live without, like smoked paprika and chimichurri sauce. I’ll put those two things on almost anything. The first time I had chimichurri was at their house in the ‘burbs. They had just had their son and had left Dorchester for Main St. USA in the Boston suburbs. It looked very much like the town in Vermont where I had attended college. They lived on the actual Main St. and it had, stereotypically, one traffic light and a post office. The house was white clapboard, as you would expect, with matching labrador retrievers in the yard.
On that trip Jessica made her famous sangria with the very special addition of Southern Comfort (don’t knock it till you try it). George made dinner, of course. I don’t know what else the meal consisted of but I know for certain it was the first time I had ever had yucca and chimichurri. Out of that dinner I have parlayed that chimichurri sauce onto most everything besides steak. I use it as dip for shrimp cocktail, I marinade swordfish in it and I most famously make zucchini ribbons with it.
This recipe is my own and I do things differently than George so don’t blame him because my recipe is not traditional. These zucchini ribbons go well with a cedar planked fish.
Zucchini Ribbons with Chimichurri Sauce
Chimichurri sauce - Makes 1 cup
1 bunch parsely
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 a cup of olive oil
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
2-3 garlic cloves, blanched
1 teaspoon cumin, toasted
1 teaspoon honey
large pinch red pepper flakes
sea salt to taste
Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until combined.
With a peeling knife remove the outer green layer, then peel in to strips, creating 4 sides to the zucchini, stopping when you get to the seed layer, this should take about +/- 8 swipes of the knife. Plan for 1 zucchini per person. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile prepare and ice bath. When the water boils turn it off and plunge the zucchini ribbons in for 30 seconds, remove and plunge in the ice bath. When they have cooled drain and dry them well on paper towels or a dish towel. The sauce and the blanching of the ribbons can be done a day ahead. Do not dress them until you are ready to serve them. Toss the zucchini with 2 teaspoons of sauce per zucchini.