This classic recipe is perfect for when you’ve got an abundance of farm-fresh zucchini at the height of summer. This is a traditional Italian method of preserving vegetables, called Sott’olio – literally meaning “under the oil”. First the vegetables are salted to draw out excess moisture, and then preserved in a flavorful blend of oil, vinegar, chilis and fresh herbs.
The longer these preserved zucchini sit in the fridge, the tastier they get, and the texture of the zucchini changes into something really delightful – reminiscent of a pickle! In Italy, this is also done with eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli rabe, artichokes… it’s a common method for virtually any veggie.
This is fantastic served with other antipasti on its own, or even on crostini, or alongside grilled proteins. Give it a try!
Zucchini Sott'olio (Italian Preserved Zucchini)
- 1 1/4 pounds zucchini sliced into 1/3-inch-thick rounds (about 3 zucchini)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 2 bird's eye chili peppers or other fresh spicy chili pepper sliced into thin rings
- 2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 2 to 3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt
- This recipe originated on Giada in Italy. Episode: Inspired by Capri.
- Place the sliced zucchini in a colander over a bowl and toss well with the salt. Allow the zucchini to sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the 1 1/2 cups of vinegar and the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the salted zucchini to the pot and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a simmer and cook until the zucchini is cooked through but still has a little texture, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the zucchini and place in a large bowl. Add the basil, mint, sliced chili, garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Toss well. Add enough olive oil to cover the zucchini and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Pack the zucchini in jars or a storage container with a tight fitting lid making sure the zucchini remains covered with the oil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Serve at room temperature sprinkled with a pinch of flaky sea salt.