Our summer zucchini harvest has begun! I’m not yet regretting the 5 plants I popped in the ground planning for a summer of squash blossom quesadillas and my dream of edible flower pizza, but the season is young. No doubt in a couple of months I’ll find a monstrous zucchini or two hidden under the scarlet runner beans as in years past and have to do something drastic again.

LL thought we should try something memorable and different with our first harvested zucchini of the season and suggested we try thinly slicing and pan frying them in a little hot oil. One thing led to another, as it tend to do around here.  I added some minced garlic and sliced green onions to the sizzling zucchini, and then, inspired by my new Almonds book, added a small handful of those nuts, roughly chopped. What the heck – I picked a squash blossom to toss in on the heat and finished with a sprinkling of coarse kosher salt. We heaped it on a plate and tasted – it was fine,  but it needed something else, something . . .

Balsamic vinegar! Just 3 or 4 drops of that thick, richly favored, tangy, aged, burnt sienna gold tossed throughout the dish gave it the richness and depth it needed. Balsamic took the dish from a nice fresh zucchini and almond salad to something more special, with a character of its own. It was a pretty good experiment. This would be fantastic on top of fish or as a side dish. We didn’t get a chance, though. We sat and ate the whole plate. With our fingers. And called it supper. Because, really, isn’t this kind of experience what summer food should really be about???




Balsamic zucchini "chips" with garlic and almonds

Life in a Skillet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course salads
Cuisine vegetarian
Servings 2 -4 servings


  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp coarsely chopped almonds
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


  • Thinly slice zucchini and green onion.
  • Heat oil in a skillet medium-high
  • Add garlic and onion and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add zucchini slices and almonds and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring often and gently.
  • Salt and pepper to taste and arrange on a plate.
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and enjoy!