While it may not be the first thought that comes to mind, raw squash makes a beautiful salad. Thinly slicing small zucchini with a mandoline (or shaving them with a vegetable peeler) transforms them into pliable ribbons that have a texture reminiscent of pappardelle. It also increases the surface area for the dressing to penetrate, so even a quick marinade in a garlicy vinaigrette will impart great flavor.
This recipe comes from Janet Fletcher’s book Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers. I made a few substitutions: Parmesan instead of Pecorino, baby kale instead of arugula, pistachios instead of almonds. All it really requires is that you slice the squash in thin, uniform ribbons, and contrast the lemon vinaigrette with sharp Italian cheese. This is a rustic dish that comes together in a flash and looks absolutely stunning.
Squash Carpaccio with Lemon, Parmesan & Pistachios
serves 2 to 4
4 small zucchini (2 green, 2 yellow), no longer than 5-inches
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced to a paste
1 1/2 tblsp lemon juice
2 1/2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and cracked black pepper
a handful of baby kale, arugula, or other spicy baby green
1/4 cup of chopped pistachios or sliced almonds, toasted in a dry skillet for 6 minutes
a hunk of Parmesan or Pecorino for shaving
1. Trim the ends of the zucchini. With a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini thinly lengthwise. Discard the first and last slices, which are mostly skin. Put the zucchini ribbons in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the zucchini ribbons and use your hands to toss gently. Let stand for 5 minutes to let the zucchini soften.
3. Add the kale or arugula and toss again. Transfer to a serving platter, leaving any watery juices behind. Crack more black pepper over the salad. Shave about 3 ounces of Parmesan over the ribbons. Top with pistachios and serve.