Zucchini & Summer Squash Ribbon Salad

Every time I think of zucchini, one of my all-time-fave-veg… I think of the first time I ever tasted it. I’ve written before about the legendary cooking of my school friend Anna’s mother; this story is about her older sister Claudia.

For a time, Anna & I were inseparable. This included, most fortunately for me, meals in not one, but two Italian homes. What an intro to Italian food I had! While my mom was a truly remarkable cook, this was my first venture into a whole new cuisine. What a fantastically wonderful & delicious world it opened up… and I’m still firmly planted, two feet in – my love affair with the Italian approach to cooking and food!!

At Claudia’s house… a whole other culinary experience existed for me. She, like her mother, was very talented in the kitchen. My first tastes of things like homemade tomato sauce, mortadella, Italian salami, pan-fried zucchini, espresso – the real stuff, made on the stovetop, and this is a BIGGIE… real Italian pizza made in the fireplace. I can still taste how extraordinary that was! I sure hope I remembered the manners my mom taught me, and thanked Anna, Claudia and their mother enough… just in case… ancora, grazie. Grazie mille tutti!!

With loving zucchini so much, I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. Being summer and having them so readily available, I wanted to try something fresh. Not cooked. Enter this light & delicious salad, from Bon Appetit, a perfect addition for any summer meal and impressive enough for guests.

 Zucchini & Summer Squash Ribbon Salad

This no-cook salad is a refreshing and lovely way to use up lots of zucchini and is impressive enough for guests. A vegetable peeler makes it easy to create the zucchini ribbons. If you don’t enjoy heat, you can omit the chili. Serves 4 as a perfect light summer starter~ 

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
1 medium yellow summer squash, ends trimmed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint (basil would also be nice)
1 fresh red chili, diced (optional)
A few shavings of Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Whisk oil, lemon juice, salt & black pepper in small bowl to blend; set aside. 
Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline and working from top to bottom, slice zucchini & yellow summer squash into ribbons, about 1/16 inch thick, and place in large bowl.

Just before serving add the dressing & mint; toss lightly to coat, using your fingertips. Mound on a pretty serving plate, top with the chili, if using, and the shavings of Parmesan. Buon appetito~

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