Green and Gold Zucchini Ribbon Salad

How happy am I that we are in zucchini season?  Oh, I AM SO HAPPY!!  So very, very happy.  I love zucchini.  When I was younger, the garden at the cottage would yield so many zucchini that my parents would be hard pressed to find use for them, and we would get zucchini omelets, zucchini cake, breaded and fried zucchini blossoms, zucchini casserole, stuffed zucchini, baked zucchini, zucchini fritters…the list goes on and on. 

Knowing, now that you do, about my profound affinity for zucchini, it may come as a surprise that I actually never ate zucchini raw until about 2 years ago.  In fact, I didn’t know you COULD.  Silly, isn’t that?  I was working at the bar with my friend Izzy, and she went into the kitchen to scavenge us something to eat.  When she reappeared about 5 minutes later she had a plate of veggies that the kitchen had obviously earmarked for brochettes (my first clue was the HOLE down the center of each piece).  She was just about to pop a big chunk of raw zucchini into her mouth when, in my horror, I swatted it out of her hand like she was holding a dead rat.

“IZZY, YOU CAN’T EAT THAT!  IT’S RAW!!!”

“Yeah, that’s my favourite.  I LOVE fresh zucchini.”

“But…but….it’s UNCOOKED!!”

“Just try it.  Sigh.”

I tried it.  And I fell in love.  I don’t know what I thought would happen to a person for eating raw zucchini.  It’s a vegetable for god’s sake!  Really, how bad could it be?  Not bad at all, is my answer.  Not bad at all.

This salad is almost unbearably fresh and summery.  I swear you taste sunshine when you eat it.  Plus, because the zucchini is uncooked, you know that you’re getting all those wonderful vitamins and minerals completely uncompromised.

Green and Gold Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Preparation time:  10 minutes + 20 minutes to rest

Serves 4 as an appetizer or a generous side for chicken or fish

  • 2 medium size green zucchini
  • 2 medium size summer squash (aka, “yellow zucchini”)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small lemon
  • handful fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1 roma tomato or 3-4 grape tomatoes
  • salt to taste

Top and tail the zucchini. Use a vegetable peeler to slice thin beautiful ribbons from your zucchini, all the way from the top to the bottom.

Only slice the exterior, and stop when you get to the seeds.  Keep turning the zucchini as you peel so that you get ribbons of a roughly equal thickness and each one has just a bit of colour on it.  You will have a zucchini ‘core’ at the end.  Don’t throw this away just because we aren’t using it today!!  Chop it up and use it in a filling when you stuff mushrooms, chicken, or puree it and add to soup. 

When all of your zucchini is sliced, toss it with olive oil to dress it.

Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon.  Be careful to strain the seeds.  Eating those is ‘the pits’.  HAH!  I slay me.

Finely chop your small handful or basil, which is about 2 good size sprigs. 

Gently mix this all together and add salt to taste.  If you are using a roma tomato, slice this in half, seed it, and chop it up into a small dice.  If you are using grape tomatoes, quarter these lengthwise and then slice at 1/8″.

Let this stand for about 20 minutes while you’re off busy doing something else.  The standing time will allow your salt and citrus to penetrate the zucchini, to soften and render it more malleable.  It will take on the texture of an al dente linguini noodle. Crumble in your feta…..

….and serve!!

Music to peel to….the zucchini, that is:  Could We by Cat Power