This Easy Method Gives You the Most Decadent Zucchini of All Time

At least according to TikTok — and it's only three ingredients. We had to try it.

hand of the cook takes out from the oven a sheet of the tray with fried zucchini in olive oil. Cooking a dish of vegetables
Photo: Art_rich/Getty Images

Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable. Whether you're roasting it, stuffing it, or even zoodling it, zucchini is consistently a mealtime winner. Plus, it's one of those veggies that you can get all year round (though nothing compares to a fresh summer zucchini).

Recently, TikTok introduced us to a cooking method that creators say produces the most "decadent" zucchini of all time. We can honestly say, we've never heard anyone describe zucchini as decadent, so we knew we had to try it.

The method comes from Thomas Keller, a James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, from his roasted zucchini recipe found on MasterClass. When you hear decadent, roasted zucchini, you might think it's going to be a long, tedious process, but Thomas Keller's zucchini is actually ridiculously simple — almost too simple.

What Is Thomas Keller Zucchini?

The key to Keller's zucchini is a five-minute pan-fry in canola oil followed by a 25-minute roast in a high-heat oven. The pan-fry will caramelize the zucchini while the oven cooking will soften it until it's perfectly tender.

Because you're getting the caramelized flavor, you'll only need three ingredients for the recipe: zucchini, canola oil, and salt.

The other thing that sets Keller's method apart is the way he cuts the zucchini. It's sliced in half longways, scored, and sprinkled with salt so the zucchini absorbs the salty flavor and releases extra moisture that could turn your veggie to mush in the oven. Scoring also allows all the flavors to seep into the zucchini while cooking.

Note that this recipe isn't just for zucchini. Keller says that it works with Goldbar yellow squash and other summer squash varieties. While it might take more time to roast, you could probably use this method with winter squash, like acorn or delicata, too. Or even with nightshades like eggplants and potatoes.

How to Make Thomas Keller Zucchini

Thomas Keller Zucchini
Bailey Fink
  1. Slice zucchini longways. Score the flesh by using the tip of a sharp knife to make shallow cross-cuts. Sprinkle generously with salt. Let the zucchini rest for 10 to 15 minutes to draw out excess moisture. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of an oven-safe skillet and heat until nearly smoking. Arrange zucchini in the pan with the scored side down, adjust the heat, if needed, and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the skillet to an oven preheated to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Blot zucchini dry to remove excess oil.

Our Taste Test Results

First of all, this zucchini is so easy to make and didn't take long at all — my squash didn't even need the full 25 minutes in the oven. It's a delicious and simple way to switch up your traditional zucchini side dish.

I think it's decadent in the way that it tastes like something you'd get at a fancy restaurant. Yet, it's so approachable to make at home with a lot of hands-off time.

My one complaint is that the squash could use a little more flavor. Yes, you do have a semi-caramelized flavor from the pre-cook, but it could use some aromatics. Next time, I'd add garlic and some fresh herbs to both my zucchini and oil.

I also think this zucchini could benefit from the TikTok Parmesan-crusted potatoes method — which includes adding Parmesan and herbs to your pan and placing the potatoes score-side down in the cheese so that it gets a crispy, cheesy layer. Zucchini and cheese go hand-in-hand.

Thomas Keller's zucchini probably isn't a side dish I'd make on the daily because it is a little oily, but it's a nice treat to elevate your meal with little effort and in basically no time.

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