Monday, July 27, 2009

Respecting tradition

We were back in Jervis Bay this weekend, this time to rent a cottage on the beach so that we could give our US visitors a glimpse of the Australian coast. The mild temperatures were a surprising and welcome change from frosty Canberra, and the water was warm enough to permit paddling—not bad for the middle of winter. We played on the beach, got close to some wildlife in its native habitat, and sampled the cottage’s extensive DVD library. I was in charge of organizing meals and showed great self-restraint (I thought) in bringing only two bags of food.

Knowing that the cottage would come equipped, as you’d expect from any self-respecting Australian beach house, with a grill, I was determined to cook at least one meal on it. I mean, you couldn’t really call it a beach weekend otherwise, right? I have minimal experience with grills of any kind; we used to have a Weber when we lived in the US, but DP was always in charge of that. This one was a gas grill, as most grills I’ve encountered here have been, so I figured it would be like a bigger and better gas stove, and that this would be a good opportunity to try grilling myself.

Well, we had a little trouble getting it going, and we almost gave up, which would likely have meant a spell of sulking by yours truly. Luckily, I double-checked the instructions, figured out where we had missed a step, and got it going in time to cook a beachified version of one of our regular dinners: Italian-style bangers and mash. Spicy Italian sausages (brought down from our butcher in Canberra) cooked on the grill (a little bit scorched on one side before I figured out how to regulate the heat); potatoes with oil; and a warm salad built on a big pile of grilled zucchini.

Beach house grilled zucchini salad
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
7 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 in/2 cm chunks
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
3 scallions, sliced
salt & freshly ground black pepper
½ cup vinaigrette dressing

Toss zucchini with olive oil, then cook on a hot grill until tender but still a bit al dente, about 15-20 minutes, turning frequently. When cooked, remove to a large salad bowl. Immediately add tomatoes and scallions, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.* Add dressing and mix thoroughly. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Serves 3 adults and 2 children, with leftovers.

* I took out portions for the kids at this stage, before I added the dressing, since they both like vegetables but dressing not so much.


Cheryl said... Best Blogger Tips

I just think "cottage" is an inherently friendly word. ("Zucchini" doesn't roll off the tongue quite so easily, but the recipe does sound simple and tasty.)

Ah, to be able to visit a cottage in Australia...

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

I am pretty sure that a big part of the reason that this recipe (and, in fact, the whole meal) tasted so good was that it was eaten in a cottage in Australia. Location and all that.

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