I hope I'm not the only one who sometimes (read: often) relegates vegetables to last place in the order of meal importance. I'll even confess that sometimes I just skip the veggies altogether (which, you can be sure, doesn't make my family sad in the least). Vegetables are often an afterthought, quickly blanched broccoli or raw baby carrots straight out of the bag, instead of making them into something tasty.
I also have a very hard time coming up with vegetable side dishes that go with Mexican-type or spicy foods. Yesterday I made this Corn-Potato Chowder. It's not exactly Mexican-inspired, but it is a bit spicy...and has cilantro...and I really wanted to make a veggie to go with it. I came up with this zucchini-jalapeno-tomato-cotija combination. It ended up being a really nice compliment to the soup, and I think it would go well with a variety of dishes, Mexican-inspired or spicy or not.
It occurred to me as an afterthought that some cilantro would have been nice in this, too. If you have some, feel free to toss it in at the end.
Zucchini with Jalapeno, Tomato & Cotija Cheese
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, miced
1-2 large jalapenos (seeded & ribs removed), diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and diced
1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
1 medium tomato, diced
2 tablespoons finely diced cilantro, if desired
crumbed Cotija cheese, if desired
1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and salt, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and just starting to brown, 5-8 minutes.
2. Add the zucchini and chili powder, and cook, stirring often, 5-8 minutes. Add the tomato and cilantro, cook for 1-2 minutes, and remove from the heat. Serve with crumbled Cotija cheese.
Makes 4 servings.