This super simple, striking salad from Jamie Oliver always gets rave reviews and is an easy way to enjoy an abundance of zucchini. I’ve modified the recipe slightly, mainly just replacing “courgettes” with “zucchini” for us North American folks.
A summer squash, zucchini is a good source of fiber, which lowers cholesterol, aids digestion, prevents constipation and maintains low blood sugar. It is also rich in Vitamins A and C, both disease-fighting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. High in potassium and magnesium, it can help lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease and stroke.
When selecting, look for zucchini that is heavy for its size and has shiny, unblemished skin. Very hard squash indicates it’s over-mature and will have hard seeds and stringy flesh. Pick zucchini that is average size. Overly large ones may be fibrous, while those that are overly small may be inferior in flavor.
Handle this fragile veggie with care. Store unwashed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days (the sooner you eat, the better).
Zucchini Salad with Mint & Red Chili
This is quite an unusual salad and terribly simple to make. It's great because it's a nice little side dish that will go with things like mozzarella, goat's cheese, cured meats, grilled or barbecued white fish like cod or haddock, even things like chicken or pork. Use zucchini when at their best--nice and firm and not too big.
- 4 zucchini
- 1 red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
- Handful of fresh mint leaves
- 1 lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Slice zucchini lengthways as thin as you can (use a mandolin if you have one).
- Grill on a red-hot griddle pan, or on the barbecue, until lightly charred on each side.
- Scatter the slices over a large plate, making sure you don't sit them on top of each other otherwise they'll steam and go a bit limp.
- While the zucchini is still warm, sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Sprinkle the chili and garlic evenly from a height over the zucchini. (Add to your own taste, but just remember that when the chili and garlic mix with the olive oil and lemon juice the heat and flavors are lessened.)
- Sprinkle with fresh mint leaves and drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
Source: Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef