Welcome to Health Goth, our column dedicated to cooking vegetables in ways that even our most cheeseburger-loving, juice-bar-loathing readers would approve of. Not everyone realises this, but vegetables actually do taste good. We invite chefs to prove this assertion—and they do, time and time again.
Hillary Sterling is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who's now the chef at Vic's, a NYC spot known for its facility with seasonal produce. In between talking shit about our kitchen manager ("He did a great job when he worked for me, except when there was a Phish show, and he'd be like 'fuck this, I'm out of here'") and explaining about the unglamorous origins of Vic's "mercato" seasonal-vegetable menu (a Nathan's hot dog was involved), Sterling knocked out a killer zucchini dish that's a menu staple at Vic's for good reason.
She's brought a bunch of zucchini with her, and quickly cross-hatches those and gets them searing in a screaming-hot pan.
Meanwhile, she's raided our garden for some chiles for the pepper vinaigrette she's got in mind: "it's super acidic and lemony and a little bit spicy—we're going to do roasted shishitos today but sometimes we'll use cubanelles, depending on what we have."
Once the chiles are blackened and soft, half of them roughly chopped and folded together with oregano, parsley, lemon balm, and chile flakes, then hit with red wine vinegar and more olive oil.
Once the zucchini is browned, she drops the remaining shishitos into the pan and pours the vinaigrette on top. "And at this point all you have to do is bring it up to temperature, and then we'll garnish it."
MAKE THIS: Pan-Roasted Zucchini
She scoops a generous serving onto a plate and scatters more parsley, lemon balm, and oregano on top, then finishes with a flurry of toasted buttery breadcrumbs and pecorino (and zucchini blossoms, because we had them).
"Vegetables on vegetables. That's it."