The Italian Flag
2 Tbspolive oil
4zucchini, thinly sliced to a lady's little finger width
1 clovegarlic (a large one!)
4 ozmozzarella cheese, thinly sliced to a lady's little finger width
4tomatoes, peeled and sliced to a lady's little finger width
1/4 cparmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbspbasil, fresh - chopped
·salt and pepper
How to Make The Italian Flag
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Move oven rack into the top third of the oven.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and spread the zucchini slices into the skillet in a single layer. If they don't fit, cook them in batches. Cook until the zucchini are golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes per side, but this timing can vary greatly. Sprinkle the slices with garlic for the last few minutes, so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and let cool. PLEASE NOTE - you can also achieve the cooked golden colour under a broiler if you wish to reduce some of the oil content. See also the 'footnotes'!
- Arrange the slices of zucchini in an 9x12-inch glass baking dish, alternating with slices of mozzarella cheese and tomato, so that the slices overlap each other in a neat row pattern, like slates on a roof. This will produce alternating stripes of green, white and red. Oh, just like the Italian flag!
- Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and basil over the dish, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you wish to take a bit extra time, put the freshly sliced zucchini in a colander in layers, salting each layer as you go. Then place a suitably sized plate (or equivalent) on the top and weigh it down (scale weights are good for this -- although I have used big liter bottles of water before now and/or bags of sugar!). After 30 or so minutes, a surprising amount of water will have been drawn out. You can then dry the slices thoroughly with a clean cloth, or paper kitchen towel (careful not to leave paper behind!) and then they're ready for cooking.