Grilled Zucchini with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Syrup
Yield: 4 servings
Syrupy balsamic and creamy goat cheese supply sweet and tangy notes that take simply grilled zucchini to new heights.


  • ⅓ cup (80ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (40) pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 medium to large zucchini (about 1¼ pounds)
  • ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (14ml) olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 ounces (½ cup) crumbled goat cheese, more or less to taste (may substitute feta)


  1. Prepare the balsamic syrup: (Prep ahead tip: the syrup may be prepared well in advance and stored in a jar in a cupboard. It will keep for months, so feel free to make a larger batch.) Place the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup or honey in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring often. (See notes.) Simmer until the mixture is reduced by approximately half, stirring occasionally. The balsamic mixture should be slightly thick and coat the back of a spoon. It will thicken a little more as it cools. (Tip: If using a kitchen scale, I weigh the pot before simmering and stop simmering when the weight of the pot has reduced by about 50 grams, or just under half the initial amount of ingredients.)
  2. Prepare the zucchini: Slice the zucchini lengthwise or into rounds on a slight diagonal, about ½-inch thick. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with the salt and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. Drain the zucchini, and then toss with the oil, black pepper, and red pepper, if using. (I like to mix with my hands to make sure that the oil is evenly dispersed among the slices. If in a hurry, you may skip the draining stage, although I find this enhances the texture of the zucchini by removing excess moisture.)
  3. Cook the zucchini: Heat the grill (or grill pan) to medium-high. Cook the zucchini for five or six minutes on the first side before flipping, and then cook for another three to five minutes on the second side. The zucchini should have nice grill marks on each side and be tender but not mushy. Note: Leaving the slices undisturbed while cooking will produce nice grill marks.
  4. Serve and enjoy: Arrange the zucchini slices on a large plate or platter. While the slices are still warm, sprinkle with the crumbled goat cheese, and then drizzle with a few tablespoons of the balsamic syrup, reserving any leftover syrup for future use.


Helpful hints: A very gentle simmer over medium-low heat (or whatever heat will achieve this on your stove) minimizes vinegar fumes and possible scorching of the pan. To easily clean your pan if it becomes scorched (the vinegar mixture can leave a burned residue around the edges – and just a good anytime tip!), cover the affected areas with a paste of baking soda and water and let sit for an hour or more. If it doesn’t scrub off easily at this point, scrub with a crumpled piece of aluminum foil, adding a bit more baking soda, which acts as a gentle abrasive, as needed. (For nonstick or ceramic pots, use a scrubber that is appropriate for those pans, as the foil will scratch them.)

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