Let’s face it. While the weather has been unseasonably mild, it is August. Sometimes nothing tastes as good as a cool salad on a warm day. As the temperatures rise this week and the kiddos return to the classroom, treat yourself to a beautiful, healthy and tasty salad that is deceptively easy to make.
The word “carpaccio” usually refers to raw steak that is sliced paper thin. In this recipe, zucchini replaces steak for a meatless salad that would certainly be fancy enough to serve company.
Using a mandoline slicer is the best way to achieve those ultra-thin slices. Be extremely careful though, as the blade is exceedingly sharp. For added protection use the hand guard that comes with the slicer. However, if you don’t have one, it would be better to waste a little of the zucchini than to risk a bad cut.
Once the zucchini is sliced, the recipe becomes more of an art project. Arranging the remaining ingredients over the zucchini will create an edible mosaic. Red cherries, golden raisins, white feta, light brown pine nuts and more green in the mint will contrast nicely with the dark balsamic dressing. Combined all together, this colorful palatte is a fitting canvas for a culinary artist.
Change up the recipe by using your favorite dried fruits, cheeses and toasted nuts. Bleu, goat or cotija would be nice substitutes for the feta. Dried apricots, figs or even prunes would work well too. Almonds, pecans or walnuts could be used instead of the pine nuts.
To toast nuts, simply place in a dry skillet over low heat. Shake the pan occasionally so that the nuts don’t burn. Once they become very fragrant, they’re done.
Zucchini Carpaccio Salad with Feta, Golden Raisins, Cherries and Pine Nuts
Makes 6 servings
- 1 ½ pounds zucchini
- 4 oz. feta, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons golden raisins
- 3 tablespoons dried cherries
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh mint leaves, chiffonaded
- Using a mandolin or a super sharp knife, cut zucchini into paper thin slices and arrange on a serving plate.
- Sprinkle evenly with feta, raisins and toasted pine nuts.
- In a small bowl, combine both vinegars and a pinch of salt and pepper; slowly whisk in olive oil.
- Drizzle over salad.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.