Thursday, July 28, 2011


Shaved salads seem to be in vogue this year, or at least I’ve seen a lot of them (especially asparagus ones) on the food blogs lately. I can understand why: they are undeniably pretty, as well as being texturally exciting; it’s nifty how a vegetable that is rarely consumed raw can be rendered tender and palatable through thin slicing and a flavorful acidic marinade. This was the only recipe I dogeared in June’s issue of Cooking Light (I’ve been subscribing long enough that most of the recipes have started to look the same to me), but it’s a doozy, colorful and abstract-looking, pepping up the somewhat bland squash with mint, lemon, and salty pork and cheese for a sophisticated and refreshing summer dish.

Maybe it will be clearer to you, but it took me a while to figure out the proper squash-shaving technique in Step 2, especially the “discard seeds” part. I was shaving the squash (that sounds like a euphemism for something) the way I’d peel the skin off a cucumber—run the peeler down the length of it, rotate a few degrees, and peel parallel to the last spot—so I was getting some pieces that were all skin and then, after a few series of rotations, pieces that were all seeds. Was I supposed to discard any piece that had seeds in it? Wouldn’t that be most of them? Well, duh, no. I was supposed to peel a strip, then peel another strip in the same spot, repeating until I reached the seedy part, then turn the squash about 90 degrees and start peeling new strips in a spot adjacent to the one I’d just done, and so forth, until basically what was left was a square of the interior core of the squash, which is then discarded. This method has less waste and gives you the photogenic slices that are mostly lighter-toned squash flesh with borders of the darker skin.

1 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 thin slices prosciutto (1 ounce), chopped
¼ cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese

1. Shave the zucchini and squash into thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Discard seeds. Place zucchini and squash in a medium bowl, and toss with salt.

2. Combine mint and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Pour over zucchini and squash; toss.

3. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto; sauté for 2 minutes or until crisp.

4. Place ¾ cup salad on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese; sprinkle evenly with prosciutto.

Serves: 4
Time: 15 minutes
Leftover potential: Surprisingly good; keeps for several days in the refrigerator.

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