February 26, 2016

Grilled Summer Squash, Za’atar & Cherry Tomato Confit

Recipe: Travis Lett

Drenching grilled squash in oily California za’atar and tomato confit makes plenty of delicious dipping sauce for bread. There are many varieties of summer squash, all of them tasty and suitable for this dish. They are among the most plentiful vegetables when the growing season peaks, and with the exception of the precious baby varieties, they tend to be quite inexpensive. Cut the squash on the thicker side so that the slices can cook long enough to establish deep grill marks before they turn mushy.

We make this dish with quickly blanched Romano beans, which are equally delicious.



  • 1 lb mixed summer squash, cut into ¾-in-thick slices
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp California Za’atar (see below)
  • ½ cup Cherry Tomato Confit (recipe here)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, cut into thin ribbons

California Za’atar

  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup dried thyme
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp ground sumac (optional)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt


Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  1. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill (or preheat a gas grill to high). Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, spread out the squash slices in a single layer and drizzle with half the olive oil, turning to coat both sides. Season with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature until the grill is ready.
  2. Put the squash slices on the hottest part of the grill and cook until seared on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until well seared on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. The squash should be cooked through, but not mushy. In a large bowl, gently toss the grilled squash slices with the za’atar, tomato confit, vinegar, and mint. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve warm.

California Za’atar

  1. In a small, dry frying pan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds just until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Using a Microplane grater, grate the garlic into a small bowl and add the thyme, oregano, toasted sesame seeds, lemon zest, sumac (if using), and olive oil. Stir to combine and season with salt.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott


Courtesy of Gjelina