When shopping for zucchini, I recommend choosing the smaller ones, as they have smaller, more compact seeds. You will be amazed by how much water comes out during the salting process. This purging is a game changer for your zucchini and summer squash cookery. The ribbons can be cut by hand, or even with a spiralizer if you have one and salted the same way.
- 3 pounds assorted zucchini, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons Calabrian chili paste or sambal oelek
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- 8 ounces burrata cheese or mozzarella di bufala
- Basil leaves, for garnish
- Super-special extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- If you have large zucchini or summer squash, anything longer than 8 inches or so, cut them in half crosswise. Using a mandoline, thinly slice all of the zucchini lengthwise, about 1/16-inch thick, not paper thin. You want the slices to retain nice crunch and texture.
- In a large bowl fitted with a colander or in the basket of a salad spinner, arrange the slices in a thin layer and sprinkle lightly with a generous pinch of salt. Repeat layering the zucchini and sprinkling with salt until all of the zucchini and salt are used. The salt will cause the zucchini to sweat, forcing out the natural water in the cells, but keeping the crunchy texture. Let sit for 1 hour to drain. Toss the zucchini gently and then spin it a few times in the salad spinner until the squash is dry. If you don’t have a spinner, drain it well and toss or pat dry to remove excess liquid. Discard any of the water collected.
- Transfer the zucchini ribbons to a shallow bowl. Using a microplane, zest about 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, then squeeze in about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, catching the seeds in your hand. Stir in the chili paste and the olive oil. Slap and tear the basil leaves and add to the bowl, stirring until the zucchini is lightly coated and the basil is mixed in. Refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for 2 hours. You can also let it marinate, refrigerated overnight.
- To serve, transfer the zucchini to a platter, tear the burrata into pieces and scatter over the top. Garnish with basil leaves. If you have a super-special extra virgin olive oil on hand, drizzle some over the top before serving.
Recipe and photo from Listen to Your Vegetables by Sarah Grueneberg and Kate Heddings. Copyright © 2022 by Green Mountain Collection, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.