However, there’s really no reason to opt out when there’s two 5 pound zucchinis sitting on the counter daring me to cook them. So, zucchini it was instead of cauliflower!
I used the rest of the other ingredients from Mark Bittman’s original recipe, which you can find over at Gracie’s blog, namely: sausage, onion, bread crumbs, and parsley. But beyond that, I just kinda did my own thing. So, instead of steamed cauliflower with sausage-bread crumb-parsley sauce, I ended up with a very savory zucchini with sausage and greens stir fry.
Let’s start with the homemade bread crumbs. It really is so easy to make. I just defrosted a hunk of good sourdough bread, tore it into chunks, and dried it in a hot oven for a few minutes. Once the chunks of bread were dry, I ground them in a blender until they resembled bread crumbs. Easy peasy! Keep reading, the recipe is below.
The crumbs sogged up because of the moisture from the zucchini and the oils that I did not drain (no worries, there wasn’t much because I used pre-cooked sausage), but they were so flavorful and added a nice heartiness to the whole dish. Of course it helped that sourdough is already full of flavor all on its own. Thus, I highly suggest using stale sourdough for this recipe.
As for the sausage, I used Chipotle Chorizo Chicken Sausage from Al Fresco. The flavors in the sausage really contributed to how the whole dish turned out. But I believe that you can use any other sausage and the results will be great too. Pre-cooked sausages do not have a lot of oil, so keeping the oil in the pan is fine as it will just add flavor to your entire dish. However, if you use uncooked sausage, I suggest that you drain almost all of the oil that it renders and just leave enough grease to lightly coat the other ingredients. Too much of that oil just makes a dish super greasy and very unhealthy.
Zucchini is such a humble vegetable that turns into something special when cooked right. The trick is to not let it cook for too long so it doesn’t end up mushy, a slight crunch is necessary! I absolutely loved how this dish turned out. The zucchinis and the bread crumbs soaked up all the good sausage flavors and the arugula and parsley added a nice herby touch.
Homemade Bread Crumbs
2 heaping cups dry, stale sourdough bread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Tear the bread pieces into small chunks and measure a generous 2 cups of it. Place the bread pieces on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for a few minutes, just until the bread pieces are dry and crispy, maybe slightly browned but definitely not burnt.
Place bread pieces in a blender or food processor and grind until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. This makes about ½ cup.
The perfect use for old bread.
Zucchini with Sausage and Greens (Makes 3 servings)Inspired from Mark Bittman’s Whole Cauliflower with Sausage, The Food Matters Cookbook
1 tbsp olive oil2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced
2 pre-cooked sausages, sliced
1 lb zucchini, chopped
1 small bell pepper, sliced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp salt
½ cup bread crumbs (see recipe for homemade bread crumbs above)
1 cup arugula, packed
½ cup parsley, chopped (stems removed)
¼ cup sliced roasted poblano peppers (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté until golden brown. Toss in the onion slices and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Toss in the sliced sausage and cook for 5 minutes until brown spots appear. Add all the zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until the pieces start to glisten. While the zucchini is cooking, season with salt and cumin. Add the bread crumbs, arugula, and parsley. Toss everything until the greens wilt, about 3 minutes. Add the roasted pobalno pepper slices, if using, and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve warm.
This is an all in one meal. We ate it by itself and it was super filling and tasty!