Cretan zucchini in tomato sauce is a staple appetizer/meze on both sides of the Aegean coast. I’ve been dying to recreate the recipe for years, but it was hard, if not impossible, to find those baby zucchinis in US. I was really excited to start my experiments when Trader Joe’s started to carry those tiny cute zucchinis a couple of years ago. However, it wasn’t until last summer when we ate, among many other delicious mezes, an incredibly divine version of Cretan zucchini with tomato sauce and cheese at Lal Girit Mutfagi on Cunda island that I finalized my own recipe.
serves 2 as a main course and for 4 as an appetizer
1 lb baby zucchini, ends trimmed
3-4 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, slices or minced
3-4 medium size tomatoes, grated OR 1 can of diced tomatoes (smoothen them in a food processor for 10 seconds)
½ cup water
Aged cheddar (or feta or any kind of cheese you prefer)
-Heat olive oil in a wide pot on medium to high.
-Add zucchinis, garlic, and salt. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. To cook zucchinis evenly on all sides, shake the pot with the lid on a couple of times.
-Add tomato cook for 2 minutes.
-Add water and simmer on low for another 10 minutes or until zucchini is cooked.
-Once you turn it off, add cheese on top, cover and let cool down to room temperature.
-Serve as a meze/side dish/appetizer or as a main dish with rice, grilled meat, crusty bread, or all.