When you come to our house for a meal this time of year, there are certain staples that are guaranteed to be part of the menu: zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Thank my green thumb husband for growing this produce literally at our fingertips in his gentlemen’s garden next to our home. If we added a cow (for milk) and some chickens (for eggs) on the property I would never have to leave the house, which would be dreamy. Montauk can be maddening in July and August, careening through tourists to get to the local grocery store has it’s challenges.
For the last few years I’ve reached out to my Facebook family for new ideas on how to best deploy the abundant zucchini. After they sat taunting me on the counter for too long, zucchini bread was a much too common outcome. Confession: I don’t like cooked zucchini all that much – it’s a wee bit slimy for me. I clearly needed other options.
Two years ago my friend Tricia (thank you Tricia – xo) connected me with a riff on this recipe and I’ve been slicing and marinating RAW zucchini in lemon juice and olive oil ever since. Similar to that always winning combo of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil this zucchini carpaccio is my go to for a simple, but surprisingly tasty, summer side.
I served this zucchini salad up on a platter for our group dinner at the beach last night. My fellow diners were simultaneously confounded and delighted by the offering. Did you grill it first? Saute it? What’s in here? How did you do this? This is amazing! Blush.
I kind of felt like my answer was a bit of let down, followed by a bemused realization of a new discovery. This side dish is child’s play: it’s a no measuring needed, easy breezy recipe. I am a fan of simplicity on all fronts all year round, but summer is a season that SCREAMS for simplicity to even the most complicated soul. So go ahead, grab a zucchini and add this to your summer soiree repertoire.
- Some Zucchini (last night for four diners I used one and a half large zucchinis – there were no leftovers)
- Lemon juice from a lemon or two (last night I used one lemon because I only had exactly one at home)
- Olive Oil (a heaping spoonful or two or three depending on above)
- Chunky Parmesan
Slice Zucchini in rounds, or ovals, or in 3 inch long THIN slices or some other method I have not yet thought of. Marinate your geometric choice of zucchini slices in the lemon juice, olive oil and salt for at least 30 minutes, but as long as you want really (within reason).
Then, get fancy and lay them out in a cute circular or perpendicular design or just dump them on the plate (I alternate between the two – oddly enough – tastes the same either way!). Grate fresh Parmesan cheese in decent size chunks (see photo) and sprinkle over your zucchini slices.
Serve right away with dinner – or after a long and festive cocktail hour. Last night we used the zucchini slices as little mini wraps for our hot off the hibachi marinated chicken. The combo was – almost – as divine as the company and the setting! Cheers.