The final installment of our Flavorful Pairs series is dedicated to summer squash and garlic. Sort of. That is, I’ll admit I cheated a little. The recipe I chose doesn’t lean as heavily on garlic as it does on peppers — both the bell and the smoky chipotle en adobo. Right now in our garden, the pepper plants are exploding with fruit. It seemed criminal to leave peppers out of this discussion, especially since they are coinciding with the onset of ripe zucchini and yellow summer squash (I used both).
As it turns out, this recipe from Serving Up the Harvest is a perfect weeknight meal. Andrea Chesman has things timed just so: while you wait for the squash to drain, you’re marinating the chicken; while the chicken marinates, you’re prepping the rest of the ingredients. Everything comes together quickly from there (leaving just time to mix up a small batch of guacamole while the tortillas warm. My recipe, which serves 2, if you’re not too greedy: 1 ripe mashed avocado, a heaping teaspoon of sour cream, a generous sprinkling of garlic salt, a dash of cumin, finely chopped fresh cilantro, and yes, more pepper — this time, half of a fresh jalapeño — for heat. Adjust ingredients to taste.)
I’ll keep this one in my regular workweek repertoire. Though I haven’t tested it, this particular recipe could be well-suited to the Fix, Freeze, Feast approach of separating and freezing the pre-cooked, pre-cut components, to cook on those nights when you don’t have time for much else.
Chile-Lime Chicken Sautéed with Zucchini
It is an unfortunate twist of fate that the garden is often at its most prolific at the very time when the kitchen is hottest and the least desirable place to be. There’s no slaving over a hot stove for this quick one-dish supper. The fresh vegetables and piquant flavors may be just the thing to perk up faded appetites. Chipotles en adobo — or smoke-dried jalapeños in adobo sauce — provide the spark. These chiles are canned and found with Mexican foods in most supermarkets.
4 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or a mixture), halved and sliced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
Juice of 1 large lime or 2 medium ones, (3 to 4 tablespoons)
2-4 teaspoons minced chipotle chile en adobo
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 scallions, white and tender green parts only, sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
Warmed flour tortillas or hot cooked rice, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
- Combine the squash and 2 teaspoons salt in a colander. Toss to mix and set aside to drain for 30 minutes.
- While the squash drains, combine the chicken and lime juice in a nonreactive bowl. Mix in the chipotle chile, adding more or less depending on how hot you want the dish to be. Set aside while you prepare the remaining vegetables.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and marinade and sauté until the chicken is tender and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Remove the chicken and juice from the skillet, set aside, and keep warm.
- Blot the squash with a clean kitchen towel. Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil, and heat for about 1 minute. Add the summer squash and red and green bell peppers. Sauté until the squash is crisp-tender, 3-5 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and garlic and cook until the tomatoes are heated through, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Serve hot, passing the warm tortillas, sour cream, and lime wedges at the table. Or, spoon the rice onto a serving platter or individual plates. Spoon the chicken mixture on top of the rice. Pass the sour cream and lime wedges at the table.
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Want more zucchini and summer squash recipes from Serving Up the Harvest? Try: