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Raw Zucchini Salad

July 15, 2009
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There’s a lot to love about zucchini. It doesn’t have a reputation as being a glamorous ingredient, but it should: incredibly versatile, inexpensive and healthy, zucchini also boasts a delicate flavor I’m crazy about. This raw preparation is a great way to avoid heating up your kitchen in the summer: just make up this salad, throw something on the grill and dinner is served.

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This recipe is really more of an idea: all ingredients should be used in proportion to your taste. The techniques are important, though.

Mandatory ingredients:
Fresh, smallish zucchini (if you’ve got too many big, tough ones in the garden, make zucchini cake or something)
Salt
Olive oil (because you’ll be eating it raw, use a good, fruity/spicy extra virgin olive oil)
White wine vinegar
Parmesan cheese

Optional ingredients:
Cherry tomatoes
Red or green onions
Cracked black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Substitute feta for the parmesan
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, basil or other fresh herbs

1. Slice the zucchini very, very thinly using a mandoline or the slicer edge that’s probably on the side of your box grater. Put the zucchini in a non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic) with salt (don’t be shy), and a tablespoon or two of both olive oil and the vinegar.

2. Ignore the salad for 20 or 30 minutes. Discard the liquid that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. At this stage you can add any or all of the optional ingredients. Taste to adjust flavors (more olive oil? more vinegar? salt, pepper?) and serve topped with a bit of cheese.

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