Thomas Keller’s Zucchini Recipe

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Thomas Keller’s Zucchini Recipe transforms zucchini in a way you’ve probably never tried before, frying it, then baking it until it’s very tender and serving it with a tomato and shallot salsa.

» You might also like this Korean-Style Cucumber Salad.

Zucchini with salsa, Thomas Keller's Zucchini Recipe

There’s something almost magical about the way great chefs like Thomas Keller can turn even the simplest of ingredients into culinary masterpieces. This magic comes to life in Keller’s Zucchini recipe, which we are featuring today. Not only does this recipe sing in terms of taste, but it is also low carb, making it perfect for those following a low carb or ketogenic diet, or anyone trying to eat healthily.

One of the reasons you’ll love this recipe is the transformative magic of the process, taking something as humble as zucchini and creating a dish that bursts with flavor and has a satisfying texture.

As Keller often emphasizes, when you are working with a few simple ingredients, the quality of those ingredients matters a lot. So for this recipe you’ll want to source top ingredients and let them be the star of the show. Bonus points if the zucchini comes from your own garden.

Why is it Called Thomas Keller Zucchini?

World-renowned chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame is the first to have introduced this method for making zucchini, which has caught on as a viral recipe thanks to a Tik Tok’er who introduced it on her channel a while back.

The idea is that the zucchini is first flash fried to create a smoky, crispy exterior, then it’s baked until it become completely tender. The joy of it is the texture that it transforms into as it cooks. It’s no longer a firm vegetable, but a very soft interior that almost melts in your mouth.

Ingredients You Need

Ingredients for Thomas Keller's zucchini
  • Green zucchini – Also known as courgette in other parts of the world. Buy ones that are firm and uniformly sized and use them right away so they don’t have time to become bitter.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – This is one of the ingredients you want to be high-quality because it can add a nice flavor to the dish.
  • Shallot – We use shallots instead of onion to make a finely chopped salsa that’s not too overpowering.
  • Tomato – You just need one small tomato – as ripe and tasty as possible.
  • Fresh lemon juice – A squeeze of lemon juice brightens up the salsa.
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper – Season to taste.

How to Make Thomas Zeller’s Zucchini Recipe

Trim the ends off the zucchinis and cut them in half lengthwise. Use a sharp knife to score the tops of the zucchini in a criss-cross pattern. I make mine about a 1/4″ apart. You can do whatever size you like.

zucchini sliced in half, Thomas Keller's zucchini recipe

Sprinkle the tops of the zucchini liberally with salt, reserving 1/4 teaspoon for the salsa. Place the slices face down on paper towels and allow them to sweat for 30-45 minutes, until a lot of liquid has come out. If at the end not much has been released, you can gently press down on them with the paper towels to release more.

zucchini upside down on a paper towel

Meanwhile, combine the reserved 1/4 teaspoon of salt, shallots, tomato, and lemon juice in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Strain most of the liquid out. Add the olive oil. Set aside.

Tomato salsa

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat cooking oil in a skillet over high heat. When hot, place the zucchini slices, face down in the oil. Cook for 3 minutes, until a good sear has formed. Transfer zucchini to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until nicely browned.

Cooking zucchini in a pan

Garnish each piece of zucchini with the prepared salsa. Serve it hot.

cooked zucchini on a baking sheet

Storing the Dish

This Thomas Keller Zucchini dish is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven. However, if you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last for up to 2 days. Reheat gently in the oven or in a microwave until warmed through before serving again.

I also like to reheat my zucchini in the air fryer. It gives the top that crispiness that it had when it first came out of the oven, which is the most enjoyable part of this recipe for me.

Zucchini with salsa

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other types of squash instead of zucchini?

Yes, you can. Yellow squash would be a good alternative. However, cooking times may vary depending on the thickness and type of squash you use.

How long do you salt zucchini?

After you’ve salted the zucchini, you’ll need to give it about 30 minutes to release the excess liquid. You do this because the zucchini can get soggy with all of its water content.

Is it supposed to be mushy?

The zucchini in this recipe cooks for a very long time in order to turn the insides into a totally different texture than you expect from zucchini. It is supposed to be that way. However, if you don’t extract enough liquid out of the zucchini before cooking it, it can become soggy, rather than tender. If your zucchini is mushy and soggy, you probably didn’t let it drain long enough.

Zucchini with salsa

What to Serve With This Dish?

This side dish goes well with a lot of different main dishes. Here are a few of our favorites:

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Zucchini with salsa

Thomas Keller Zucchini Recipe

This recipe for Thomas Keller's Zucchini transforms zucchini in a way you've probably never tried before, frying it, then baking it until it's very tender and serving it with a tomato and shallot salsa.
5 from 40 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 97kcal
Author :Laura Lynch

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 large green zucchini
  • 1/2 tablespoon (9 g) Kosher salt
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) high-quality Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cooking oil with high smoke point

Instructions

  • Cut the ends off the zucchini. Slice in half lengthwise. Score the tops of the zucchini in a criss-cross pattern.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the zucchini liberally with salt, reserving 1/4 teaspoon for the salsa. Place face down on paper towels and allow them to sweat for 30-45 minutes, until a lot of liquid has come out.
  • Meanwhile, combine the reserved 1/4 teaspoon of salt, shallots, tomato, and lemon juice in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Strain most of the liquid out. Add the olive oil. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Heat cooking oil in a skillet over high heat. When hot, place the zucchini slices, face down in the oil. Cook for 3 minutes, until a good sear has formed. Transfer zucchini to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until nicely browned.
  • Garnish each piece of zucchini with the prepared salsa. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 882mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 452IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Thomas Keller’s Zucchini Recipe

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