This is a very simple dish that requires no cooking. You don’t even need a cutting board. It’s based on one of my favorite dishes from Jackson Fillmore restaurant and is best when summer squash and zucchini are at their peak. Use a mandoline to thinly slice the squash and zucchini into coins, or shave the vegetables lengthwise into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. You can also use the vegetable peeler to shave the Parmesan and a microplane to zest the lemon (see the picture below for tools). I added basil, mint, tarragon and thyme to the salad, but feel free to throw in whatever herbs sound good to you. The herbs add a pop of green to the dish and give it a more complex flavor, but the salad is also great without them. The vegetables have a high water content and they’ll release a lot of liquid when tossed with salt and lemon juice. It’s best to make the salad in a mixing bowl and let it rest for a minute before transferring it to a serving bowl, leaving the liquid behind. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the salad before serving and finish it with flakey sea salt like Maldon from the English coast if you have it on hand. Eat the salad right away before the squash and zucchini get too soft.
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4 people as a side salad
1 medium size zucchini, rinsed and dried
2 small to medium size crookneck squash, rinsed and dried
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup good olive oil
¼ cup torn basil leaves
¼ cup torn mint leaves
2 tablespoons torn tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
½ cup toasted slivered almonds – I like a lot of almonds in my salad but you can add less if you want to, or you can substitute pine nuts and it’s equally delicious.
Maldon sea salt for finishing (optional)
Using a microplane or vegetable peeler thinly slice or shave the squash and zucchini into a mixing bowl, discarding the tops, bottoms and any extra bits. Toss the vegetables with the salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Let rest for one minute. Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl, leaving any liquid behind. Add the herbs, Parmesan and almonds. Gently toss and serve. You can sprinkle a little flakey sea salt on top if you have it on hand and drizzle the salad with a splash of olive oil to finish it.