Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Zucchini Love

You may have noticed a lot of mention of zucchini and squash around here.  That's because it's summer time, and few vegetables are as prolific as the humble zuke.  I would definitely recommend zucchini as a starter veggie gardener plant- they tend to just explode with little gardener assistance.  So naturally, those of us with several coming in off the vines each day need to find things to do with them (besides overload all the neighbors and officemates, though that works well).

One of my favorite easy preparations is Zucchini Carpaccio.  It is a salad of raw, marinated zucchini that really lets the zucchini shine.  It makes a wonderful side salad or a great addition to a picnic.  The key is to use small, tender zucchini or squash (easy to do if you grow your own).  That is when they are at their peak of flavor and texture for this dish.  It can also be very pretty if you use a combination of zucchini and yellow squash.

I found the recipe from Martha Stewart several years ago when I first grew my own veggies.  It is super easy and super delicious, just what I am after in a summer recipe.  I haven't looked at that original recipe in years, so here is my go-to take on the original.

Zucchini Carpaccio
Serves 4
adapted from Martha Stewart

4-6 small zucchini or summer squash
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt
1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Slice the zucchini into thin rounds (one of these days I will invest in a mandoline) and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle thyme leaves over zucchini.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.  Add salt and toss.  Allow salad to marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Add Parmigiano Reggiano.  Toss and serve.

*Full disclosure - I never measure anything that goes into this salad.  If I were you, I'd take the list of ingredients and just wing it.

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