Pan-Seared Zucchini

Pan-Seared Zucchini

A zucchini and a steak may not have much in common, but, like steak, zucchini takes incredibly well to the method of quickly searing in a smoking hot pan. Zucchini has a high water content, so cooking it fast means it retains its structure and doesn’t release too much water, and doing so over high heat yields a beautiful char. A quick baste with brown butter, rosemary and garlic adds even more steakhouselike flavor. The recipe calls for 1½ tablespoons butter, but feel free to use a bit more if you like. Finally, choose smaller zucchini if you can; they tend to be less watery, more flavorful, and contain smaller seeds than their larger counterparts. If you can only find larger zucchini (or if you only have a 10-inch skillet), use two zucchini instead of three to avoid crowding the pan.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 3 persons



  1. Step 1

    Trim the zucchini lengthwise on two opposite sides to create flat edges. Discard the scraps and cut the zucchini in half lengthwise into two planks that are about ½-inch thick. (If you’re using larger zucchini, you may get three planks from each one.) Pat them dry with a paper towel, pressing gently but firmly on both sides to absorb any moisture.
  2. Step 2

    Heat a large (12-inch) cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium-high. Add the oil and heat until it’s almost smoking. Add the zucchini, spacing them evenly in the pan and pressing lightly with a spatula so that the planks make contact with the pan. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper, and cook for about 3 minutes, until the zucchini is nicely charred on the bottom. Lower the heat to medium, flip the zucchini, and season with salt and pepper again. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, until the bottom is charred.
  3. Step 3

    Turn the heat to low and add the butter, garlic and rosemary. Carefully tilt the pan, letting the garlic and rosemary cook in the butter for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the butter has begun to brown. Spoon the butter over the zucchini, and cook for another minute, flipping them a few times to coat both sides with the butter.
  4. Step 4

    Transfer the zucchini to a serving platter, along with the garlic and rosemary, and spoon any butter that’s left in the pan on top. Top with coarse sea salt, lemon zest and red-pepper flakes, and serve hot.