When you eat based on the seasons, you can eat inexpensively — at least, that's what sustainable food experts always say. While I don't always find the best values at my farmers markets, I will agree that right now is the perfect time to take advantage of Summer produce that's so abundant that growers are practically giving it away. Case in point: everywhere I turn, I spot in-season zucchini, and they're going for a dollar a pound.
Zucchini's delicately sweet and vegetal nature plays out best in a simple, unadorned preparation like carpaccio. Slice it thinly on a mandoline (or not, if you have mad knife skills), then drizzle the plate with a light marinade of lemon juice, sea salt, and olive oil. Pine nuts add meatiness, and pecorino shavings add just a hint of bite. In mere minutes, you'll be facing a platter that encapsulates the taste of Summer. Keep reading for the carpaccio recipe.
4 small zucchini (1 lb. total)
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup pine nuts (1 oz.)
1 (6-oz.) piece grana padano or parmigiano-reggiano
Garnish: thinly sliced tips of 2 zucchini blossoms, several fresh mint sprigs, or edible flowers
Special equipment: mandoline or adjustable-blade slicer
- Cut zucchini diagonally into paper-thin slices with slicer. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, in 1 layer on 4 plates.
- Make stacks of mint leaves and cut crosswise into very thin slivers, then sprinkle over zucchini.
- Whisk together oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, then drizzle over zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper to taste, and pine nuts. Let stand 10 minutes to soften zucchini and allow flavors to develop.
- Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to shave cheese to taste over zucchini, then sprinkle with zucchini blossoms and mint.
Makes 4 first-course servings.
- Vegetables, Appetizers