During zucchini season I often buy zucchini without any plan for it. Days go by and I realize that I still don’t have a plan and I don’t want it to go bad. Once when this happened this summer I decided to use it for side dish for a gathering that we were having at our house. I remembered seeing a recipe for zucchini carpaccio at some point but couldn’t fine the one I was looking for. During my search I stumbled upon this Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Salad on Food Network and thought it looked fantastic and it didn’t seem that hard. It’s also a recipe that can be served at room temperature, which makes it perfect for a party.
It turned out to be a little more labor-intensive and time-consuming than I expected, but that was partly my fault. I used my handy-dandy OXO Mandoline Slicer to thinly slice the zucchini and that wasn’t so simple. Some pieces would cutting too thin, some were too thick, and it was hard to get a consistent cut, but I did the best I could. My slicer isn’t very big and is hand-held, so it was hard to slice a long vegetable in long pieces. When I went to cook the slices, I decided that it would be easier to use my grill pan on the stove top than use the grill outside because then I could work on other things in the kitchen while it grilled. What I should have done was ask Lo to grill the zucchini on the grill, which would have fit way more at a time than my grill pan. I ended up adding red pepper chunks and shredded carrots because I wanted to add a little color to the platter, so I threw them on the grill pan for a few minutes to soften them after the zucchini was done.
The salad turned out pretty well and a few of my friends even LOVED it. I liked it enough to make it again, but I’ve since made Grilled Zucchini Ribbons and Prosciutto and liked them a little better (but of course, everything is better with prosciutto). Unfortunately I didn’t get any nice pictures of the salad on the serving platter, so all you get is a cell phone picture of my leftovers. Please excuse the pulled pork and baked beans on the plate…. Next time I make it, I’ll be sure to get a better shot, but I was stressing about guests arriving.
Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Salad
adapted from Food Network
- 3 large zucchini, roughly 2 pounds
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped, optional
- 1 carrot, peeled into thin slices with a vegetable peeler, optional
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon dried dill week or 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil leaves
- 4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, optional (I toasted these on the stovetop in a clean cast iron pan, shaking often until browned)
- Shaved Parmesan, to taste
Prepare a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high, or use a grill pan on high, but know that you’ll have to cook it in more batches with the pan.
Wash the zucchini and cut off the ends. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise. Toss the zucchini with 1/3 of the olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Quickly grill the zucchini ribbons on 1 side, until lightly marked and wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a plate or a baking dish and let cool slightly. (Note: I actually wasn’t reading the directions while making the recipe, so I grilled each piece on both sides, which explains why it took longer than I expected). If using peppers and carrots, cook in a pan slightly until just softened (I used the same grill pan after the zucchini was done).
When slightly cooled toss zucchini and veggies in a bowl with the remaining ingredients except nuts, if using and Parmesan. Spread onto a serving platter, top with pine nuts and shaved Parmesan over the top.