1 large angled loofah squash (sinqua, silk squash) or 3 or 4 medium zucchini (12 to 16 oz. total)
Salt to taste
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp evenly minced garlic
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (optional)
Make Sure You Have: Steamer, wok or other pan with a steamer basket or rack.
1. Peel all the ridges and skin off the loofah (zucchini needs no peeling); discard ends. Cut squash crosswise into 3/4-inch thick rounds. Place the squash in a single layer, cut-side down, on a heatproof plate that will fit inside a steamer. Lightly sprinkle the slices with salt.
2. Set the dish on a rack over 2 to 4 inches boiling water in a steamer (at least 1 inch wider than dish) or wok (if bottom is round, place on a wok ring to stabilize). If you don't have a steamer large enough to accommodate a plate, steam squash without plate, on a rack with a steamer basket. Cover and steam over high heat until squash is tender when pierced, about 5 minutes for loofah, 10 minutes for zucchini. Watch the water level, adding more boiling water as needed.
3. Meanwhile, in a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium heat, add oil and garlic. Stir often until the garlic turns light gold, 2 to 3 minutes, taking care not to overcook. Remove from heat; garlic may continue to brown slightly.
4. When the squash is done, carefully remove dish from the steamer and drain off accumulated water. Then, transfer steamed squash to a serving plate, cut-sides up. Place a spoonful of garlic on top of each round. Sprinkle plate with cilantro, if desired. Add more salt to taste, if desired.