Most people think about pressure cooking in the cold weather months, when a steaming hot soup or stew is needed to warm us up, but the pressure cooker is a great appliance to think of during the summer as well–especially if you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden.
Because the pressure cooker cooks foods so quickly, think of the “pc” when you don’t want your burners on for more than a few minutes.
And, from an ecological and economical point of view, remember that saving time also means saving fuel!
3 minutes under pressure
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 whole cloves garlic
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound medium-sized zucchini, trimmed
1 cup vegetable broth, preferably organic
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
One 28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes, including juice (or substitute 4 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes)
Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in cooker. Add onion, garlic, and fennel seeds. Cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in eggplant, zucchini, broth, bay leaf, and salt. Pour tomatoes on top. Do not stir.
Lock lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Reduce pressure with a quick-release method. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape.
Remove bay leaf. Slash zucchini into bite-sized chunks. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and red pepper flakes. If serving hot, tear basil leaves and stir in. If serving chilled, chop basil leaves and stir in just before serving. Adjust seasoning, adding enough balsamic vinegar to sharpen the flavors and more salt, if needed. Serve warm or chilled.
Adapted from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass, copyright 2009.