So here’s the deal: All the plants in the world will die but you get to save the world by choosing seeds from one plant that will feed the multitudes. What plant to choose? It’s got to be the zucchini right? They’re as fecund as Kate Goselin. The two zucchini plants in my garden that started as tiny seeds a month ago no bigger than a baby’s fingernail seem to have been impregnated with fertility drugs. They’re churning out those babies quicker than you can say sextuplets.
For the past two weeks, every morning I go out to the garden and harvest one, two or more zucchini – both the long variety and the squat, round variety.
Not that I’m complaining. I’ve found plenty of uses for my harvest – from simply sautéed zucchini with olive oil and garlic, to stuffed zucchini, zucchini scones, chocolate zucchini cake and more. Oh and don’t get me started on zucchini flowers. I love them sliced up and cooked with pasta but if you’ve never eaten them deep-fried and stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, bella mia, don’t delay any further.
Granted, it’s not low-cal but sometimes you gotta take the plunge and experience the love. However this recipe, made with raw zucchini, is easier on the waistline and is also perfect for these beastly hot days we’ve been having here in the Northeast U.S. One of my first entries when I started this blog two years ago was a similar recipe for zucchini carpaccio, but this one takes it a bit further with the parmesan and tomatoes.
I used both the globe zucchini (the pale green skin) and the long variety (the darker green skin) and it’s a visual delight as well as a great taste sensation. If you’ve got yellow squash, you could layer that in as well. But you will need a mandoline to slice the zucchini or maybe a food processor, if yours has a disc that will slice thinly enough.
We ate the zucchini salad with crabcakes the first night, but the leftovers were equally good the next day in a completely vegetarian meal of bulgur-chick pea salad and peperonata (my friend Lilli made this one with capers she brought home from Salina, one of the Eolian islands off the coast of Sicily) .
Zucchini Salad (Zucchini Carpaccio, part two)
Serves at least four as a side dish
This tastes best if you pour the dressing over the vegetables 1/2 hour before serving.
two zucchini (preferably of different colors)
grape tomatoes to line the serving plate
2 t. toasted pine nuts (toast them by tossing in a hot skillet - no butter required)
shavings of Parmesan cheese
fresh basil (I used both green and purple) thinly sliced
finely cut chives
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T. white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
Slice the zucchini very finely with a mandolin. Layer the zucchini slices, alternating colors, on a plate. Top with herbs, toasted pine nuts and Parmesan Cheese. Line the edge of the plate with the grape tomatoes and sprinkle basil over top of them. Make the dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and garlic together. Drizzle over the top and serve. Keeps well for leftovers the next day.