Zucchini is one of those hit-or-miss vegetables with guests. I have myself recently learned to love them, preferably raw, lightly cooked or roasted. I think that the main reason for this is the bland flavor that puts people off. However, this is a simple recipe that will hopefully convert a few folks to start liking this vegetable.
I am a true believer that a great looking salad sets the tone for a wonderful dinner. This is one of those salad that are spectacular on the table, but so easy to make at the same time.
The magic to this salad is the perfectly blanched zucchini. They should be slightly soft, with the centers of the thin slices still having a bite and crunch. Blanching them in a broth with herbs and a touch of vinegar does the magic, flavoring them ever so lightly and perfectly. Dressed in the light olive oil dressing the zucchini come alive and are complimented beautifully with the herbs and the crunch of the pistachios. This is a stunning salad all around.
This is a cookbook from Ronaldo Beramendi, of the famed Manicaretti Italian food importer, but also master chef. This cookbook bring some truly authentic Italian cuisine, kept true to their core and not muddled with their import across the ocean. This is a great cookbook for those looking for wonderful no-fuss Italian food.
For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.
1 tablespoons white vinegar
4 parsley stems, or 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
4 basil sprigs, or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
6 chives or 1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 cups water
Salt, to taste
3-4 baby zucchini
6 tablespoons robust extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
Fresh basil, to garnish
Fresh parsley, to garnish
1/4 cup pistachios, lightly roasted
Add the vinegar, parsley stems, basil stems, chives, and salt to a wide straight-sided frying pan. Add the water and bring to a boil.
Stem the zucchini and cut into very thin strips, 1/8-inch thick. This is best achieved using a mandolin for even slices. Even slices help you time the cooking of them precisely, this is important for the salad.
Add the slices 3-4 at a time to the boiling stock and blanch for 1-1 1/2 minutes. The zucchini should turn a bright green and the slice should start to turn limp, be careful not to cook them too much and make them mushy. They need to still have a bite. Drain in a colander and repeat till all the slices are cooked.
Mix the olive oil and the vinegar well.
Arrange the cooked zucchini slices on a wide platter in a lattice pattern, overlap the slices so they look wonderful. Brush on the olive oil-vinegar dressing and then pour the remaining dressing over the zucchini. Garnish with a few basil and parsley leaves and scatter the pistachios over the salad. Serve immediately.