Saint-Laurent-du-Var I know, I know. Zucchini doesn’t sound too exciting as a salad, but hear me out. In early summer there are mounds of fresh, inexpensive zucchini at farmers markets and grocery stores throughout the country. And if you have a plant or two in your yard – you know of which I speak. Zucchini for weeks and weeks.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of cooked zucchini because I find it watery in texture and not that flavorful. HOWEVER, I made this salad while in a class taught by visiting chef, Joe Yonan, food editor of The Washington Post. It was an interactive, hands-on class with about seven dishes to prepare, and we were able to choose which recipe we wanted to cook. I was feeling fairly lazy so I decided to try making something that was quick and which did not involve the stove (it was a hot afternoon, after all). I was paired with two women from San Diego and we whipped this up in no time flat.
And you know what? This absolutely will be THE salad that I will bring to various potlucks this summer. I have been preparing another previously published raw zucchini dish for a while now, and this is just as refreshing and as easy to make. Plus, this one is pretty, colorful and tastes like summer.
The recipe is from America the Great Cookbook (with a few of my own twists and turns, of course). What I love about this cookbook is that it supports Share Our Strength’s incredible No Kid Hungry initiative. In case you’re not familiar with the cause – here’s their Mission Statement:
“NO CHILD SHOULD GROW UP HUNGRY IN AMERICA. But 1 in 6 children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting kids in need with nutritious food and teaching families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. You can help surround kids with healthy food where they live, learn and play.”
- 3 green zucchini
- 2 cups small grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 3 yellow squash
- ¼ cup sherry wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup good quality grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves. (I will try fresh dill leaves next time just for a change)
Make the dressing: combine the vinegar and olive oil. Add the tomatoes and season with the salt and pepper, and let this marinate while you make the squash ribbons.
Using a sharp vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini into lengthwise ribbons. Peel off several ribbons from one side, then turn the zucchini and peel off more ribbons. Continue turing and peeling until you get to the seed part at the core of the zucchini. You can also do this with a spiralizer or mandoline, although the veggie peeler method went fast. Repeat for the yellow squash
Right before you are ready to serve the salad, place the ribbons in a serving bowl with the tomatoes and dressing, add the cheese and gently toss. Taste and add more salt and pepper–remember that Zucchini is bland and might need more salt than you initially anticipated. Finally, add the mint and toss to coat. Serve immediately.