Friday, August 2, 2013

Shaved Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

After my wordy protestations this past month about wanting to be back in my kitchen after weeks away, I haven’t actually turned on the stove very much.  When I’m not making vast quantities of green juice, I’m content to find whatever produce looks freshest and assemble a simple huge salad with it.  If I add fresh herbs, some toasted nuts, a few shavings of a pungent cheese and a drizzle of great olive oil, I'll call it a meal.  This Shaved Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan definitely follows that formula with very happy results.

This is the time of year when zucchini is growing out of control, overflowing in the gardens and in the markets. When I walk by the farmer’s market stands in my neighborhood and see these perfect specimens at the peak of their season, it’s very hard for me to pass them up. Not to be confused with much paler yellow summer squash, I love the robust yellow variety as well as their darker green counterparts too.

Zucchini is very versatile, lending itself well to being steamed, sautéed, grilled, roasted, baked into quick breads or cakes, or simply eaten raw. I can happily eat my Quick Sauté with Mint and Almonds on a daily basis without growing tired of it, but lately I don’t feel like turning on my stove even for the 60 seconds required for this recipe.  Instead, it’s been fun to put my vegetable peeler to work and make this raw salad on a regular basis.

Most things tastes better with toasted pine nuts.  I could say the same for fresh basil, especially when it’s this floral lemon-basil that just was at the farmers market this morning.  Hello gorgeous!

A lemony-olive oil dressing with a pinch of hot chile flakes ties it all together as the zucchini ribbons fold onto each other.  A few shavings of good Parmesan and a sprinkling of flaky salt pull the flavors into focus.  What more do you need? Lunch is served.

One Year Ago: Gazpacho

Adapted slightly from a recipe in Bon Appetit, July 2010

I love using my OXO Good Grips Y-shaped peeler for this recipe.  It makes the zucchini very easy to handle, and I can also use it to shave little flakes of Parmesan from a big wedge of the cheese.

The freshly squeezed juice and zest from half a large lemon (about 1 tablespoon juice)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
A generous pinch or two of hot chili flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil

1 - ½  pounds zucchini, scrubbed clean and trimmed
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Several handfuls of fresh basil leaves, torn
A small wedge of Parmesan cheese

Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice and zest with the Dijon mustard in a small bowl.  Add a pinch of salt and the crushed pepper, then whisk in the olive oil until combined. 

Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin ribbons of zucchini starting from the narrower top end and working your way down.  Repeat till all the zucchini has been peeled into thin ribbons, about 1/16-inch thick. 

Transfer the zucchini ribbons to a large mixing bowl along with the toasted pine nuts and torn basil leaves. Add the lemon-olive oil dressing and toss till well coated.  Use a vegetable peeler to shave Parmesan over the salad.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed, and serve right away. 

1 comment:

Ribbons of yellow squash and green said...

I love making squash ribbons, such a great alternative to a bowl of pasta. I love the salty feta addition!