7.30.2016

Gad-Zukes!

This past spring you heard several times about how much citrus got left on our doorstep. But it wasn't always that way.

Back when we lived in Maine, it was zucchini. Everyone grew it in their gardens; it was easy, fairly carefree, and prolific. Really prolific. And sacks of it appeared on our doorstep, sometimes anonymously, as gifts.

In that season, zucchini bread was rampant. Zucchini muffins followed. How about chocolate-zucchini cake? In these recipes, the zucchini isn't the star. It is a non-flavored additive. A filler.

Today, zoodles are all the rage, zucchini masquerading as noodles. Spoiler alert: zoodles aren't spaghetti. Neither is spaghetti squash. (Mind you, I love spaghetti squash, although have never had zoodles...)

My recipe today isn't far from the concept of zoodles, except that my dish is a side dish, not a vegetable pretending to be pasta.

Today, I made a salad of thin ribbons of zucchini marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, mint, and feta, as a side to burgers and corn on the cob. Quintessential summer fare. 

I loves me my zucchini, like Popeye loves his spinach..

Happy Summer!

~ David

Zucchini, Feta, and Mint Salad

3 smallish zucchini
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
50 mint leaves, chopped - about 2 tablespoons
1/3 pound best-quality feta cheese, crumbled
salt, to taste

Trim the ends of the zucchini. Using a vegetable peeler (or a mandoline), make flat, wide ribbons and place in a large bowl. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil, and the juice of the lemon. Toss well. Add the chopped mint and the feta cheese. Season lightly with salt, mindful of the saltiness of the feta cheese. Toss well. Add more olive oil as necessary to create a good balance between the oil, lemon juice, and feta.

Serve immediately, or allow to marinate for 1-2 hours to bring out the best flavor and soften the zucchini ribbons.

Serves 4.


34 comments:

  1. Look forward to the title of your posts always so creative, like this dish. What a beauty! You have made zucchini the star of the show David.

    Have a wonderful week-end, heard you are having some weather.....

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    1. Thanks, Cheri! I have a lot of fun thinking of titles - I am glad you enjoy them. We have had some wonderful monsoon activity - the desert is so green!

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  2. It's true about zucchini productivity. It's every gardener's secret summer shame: Those zucchini plants we nursed along all spring suddenly go ballistic as soon as the weather really heats up. What once was a promising little squash suddenly seems as big as your arm! Proof we all need as many zucchini recipes as we can get. Keep up the good work. GREG

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    1. I agree, Greg! We need more zucchini recipes for this time of year!

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  3. The first time I saw this recipe was on my friend Cynthia's page (What a Girl Eats), in fact she just shared it on FB recently. I have to say, I have a "thing" about eating zucchini raw! I've never done it because I remember cutting them up in Michigan to cook or put in bread and cakes, and then tasting a bitterness off my fingers! Maybe I need to give it a try before I actually decide if I like it or not! ;)

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    1. Christina - it is an amazing coincidence that I just connected on social media with Cynthia for the first time this week! I will have to check out her version of this recipe. You definitely need to try this. Think of it as zucchini ceviche - if you let it sit for a bit, the lemon cooks the zucchini just a bit. It is really quite nice.

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  4. Gorgeous summer dish, David. Such beautiful colors in this post. :) I love zucchini and we eat it often in lots of different ways, but this recipe will be a new treat. Perfect for one of our grilling afternoons! Yum :)

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    1. Thanks, Marcelle! We often serve this will grilled lamb burgers. It's a wonderful combination.

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  5. Agreed, zoodles are not spaghetti. The word zoodle alone makes my eyes roll. As for your zucchini salad, I need to try this combination when I get a chance. Such clean flavours.

    Maybe you could call this a zappardelle salad for the zoodle camp? ;)

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    1. I feel so snarky for my dismissive comments on zoodles, John, so I am glad I am not alone. And, while zapparadelle is brilliant (wish I'd thought of it!), I fear if we say it aloud it will be the next "thing."

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  6. PS Zoodles sounds like the name of a breed of dog!

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  7. This sounds amazing! I WISH my zucchini grew like that in my garden. This will be the third year in a row of attempting to grow zucchini and getting zilch! (My okra, on the other hand, is doing great!)

    I love vegetables cut into ribbons! It makes it seem so elegant. I did one with carrot ribbons recently and it was delicious! (http://www.pinchmeimeating.com/scarborough-fair-carrot-ribbons-shrimp/ if you're interested)

    I did make zoodles recently as a base for shrimp scampi and it was quite tasty. My mom got me a spiralizer because she loved hers so much. They're not bad! But I'll never give up real pasta.

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    1. Caroline - the carrot recipes sounds wonderful. And I am not against zoodles, per se, it's just that I want my real pasta! I am so sorry your zucchini haven't taken off like everyone else's. Rest assured, some will find their way to your doorstep!

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  8. This looks delicious! I typically cook zucchinis out of habit but like the idea of eating them fresh and raw like in this salad. Yum! Glad to know they're easy to grow. I recently planted some zukes and look forward to enjoying their flowers and fruits soon. Thanks for sharing a lovely recipe. :)

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    1. I hope you get a great crop, Ngeun! There are so many ways to cook and eat zucchini, but this is one of our favorites! Check back next week for another zucchini recipe!

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  9. This looks awesome, David! I can't wait to try it.

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  10. Hi David: what a great combination - I am going to try and make it this week. Maybe with goats cheese. When my parents had a place in Stowe there was a time when we ate zucchini in everything from bread to soup...

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    1. Thanks so much! Goat cheese works really well for this recipe, as does either Parmesan or Romano cheese. Each tastes a little different - all good! I hadn't realized you lived in Stowe - beautiful country!

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  11. Oh, perfect recipe. I prefer marinated!

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    1. Thanks, Cindy - just let it sit a while and you will be happy!

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  12. Yep, the first time I grew zucchini (back in Rome, years ago) I didn't know about its prolific qualities, so I planted four or five plants... I soon had more zucchini than I knew what to do with. Even my friends and work colleagues were sick of zucchini by the time the summer was over. We joked that I should set up a stand at the local market...

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    1. Frank - usually after a summer like yours in Rome, people vow never to grow the stuff again!

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  13. This looks delicious! And it makes me think that there must be a number of cold vegetable salads zucchini could fit right in to!

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    1. I can only imagine that you are right, Inger!

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  14. David, this was delicious! I made it tonight and it will become my new summer "go-to" recipe. Yum!! I might even get frisky and add a few Kalamata olives...

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    1. Kalamata olives is a great idea, Cora. dried tomatoes would be good, too!

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  15. I love my zoodles, too, David, and this is a great way to prepare them. Zoodles have become a weekly dish, at least, now that zucchini are everywhere. Well, everywhere but in my garden. I've a little bunny that raids my zucchini blossoms every night. Thank heavens for farmers markets. :)

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    1. Darn those little bunnies! We have them here, too, among other pests... We only grow hot chiles that pretty much get left alone!

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  16. I may not always write a timely comment, BUT we very often are making your dishes--once, twice, and even three times! We made this one over the weekend and LOVED it. I predict it will be made many more times. I love the lightness and freshness of it!

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    1. This one is so simple and perfect for summer! So glad you both like it!

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