Raw Zucchini Carpaccio

Savory Recipes, Summer • 6 Sep 2011

The dog days of summer have ebbed and flowed. Recipes for cold summer soups and raw vegetable salads are being tucked gently into storage. Soon we’ll be eating creamy butternut squash risotto, piping hot fall vegetable soups and ubiquitous apple cider donuts.

But before we bid adieu to zucchini and usher in their fall, hard-shelled counterparts, say hello to a lingering taste of summer. This elegant salad takes advantage of a plentiful vegetable that, though usually served cooked, works well in the raw. I like to keep things Spartan, dressing the zucchini in a straightforwardly light lemon vinaigrette that uses a combination of olive oil and walnut oil. The nutty walnut oil brings out the earthiness of the summer squash and pairs perfectly with a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts or walnuts. To tie the flavors together, I finish it with the ne plus ultra of nutty/fruity hard cheeses, Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Like with eggplant, it is important to salt and drain the zucchini. It changes the stiff crispness of the slices to more of a pasta-like texture, while still retaining the characteristic snap.

Zucchini Carpaccio

3 large zucchini, washed, skin on, and thinly sliced into strips with either a Y vegetable peeler or a mandolin
1 1/2 plus 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon packed lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/8 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup walnut oil
2 tablespoons packed basil chiffonade
2 tablespoons packed mint chiffonade
Toasted and roughly chopped walnuts or skinless hazelnuts to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Sprinkle zucchini with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and drain over a colander for about 10 minutes.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and salt until combined. Whisk in oils. Add zucchini and toss well.

3. Arrange zucchini slices, gently overlapping, on a serving platter. Sprinkle with herbs, nuts and black pepper. Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano over salad and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

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