Isn’t this pretty? Considering we eat with our eyes first, this is a very good start.
The follow up, the flavor, does not disappoint. It’s bright and refreshing making it a wonderful first course in the warmer months or a perfect side dish with something more hearty, like a steak.
One of the many reasons I love this salad is because, although I call it a salad, there are no leaves to be found! So, it’s different from the norm and lord knows it’s important to keep things changing from one night to the next. Another reason I love it – it’s so simple to make. And I love simple, especially when it’s warm out. There are just a few ingredients involved and you do not need to use a heat element. Everything is raw.
You will, however, need a mandolin. The key to this salad is to make the slices of zucchini paper-thin. I suppose you could try slicing the zucchini by hand, but I’m sure that could make a person nuts. Using a mandolin is quick and easy…just be careful of your fingers. You don’t want to slice anything important off.
Here’s what you will need to serve 2 people…
1 large zucchini
1 small leek, white and light green part only, sliced into paper-thin rounds
4-5 tbsp ricotta
1/2 lemon, juiced
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
First, slice the leek into paper-thin rounds. Put the rounds in a bowl filled with water, swish them around a bit and then let the leeks soak for a few minutes, allowing all the sand and dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Gently pull out the leeks, being careful not to stir up the dirt on the bottom. Give them a final rinse and place on paper towels to dry.
Next, get out that mandolin and start slicing the zucchini into paper-thin rounds. It helps to make a very straight first cut with the knife when you cut the stem off. Place all the zucchini in an overlapping pattern on a pretty platter.
Sprinkle the zucchini rounds with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper. Place a piece of plastic wrap over it and put in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. I usually let mine sit for about 30 minutes, or until dinner is ready.
Just before serving, sprinkle the leeks over the zucchini, putting on as many or as little as you prefer. Next, scatter around small dollops of ricotta cheese all over the zucchini, again using as much or as little as you like. Finally, sprinkle the parsley and dill over the entire plate. I also give it a final spritz of lemon juice just before serving.
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence’s Zucchini Carpaccio