The Biggest Hit at the Party: Grilled Zucchini Salad with Mint & Red Chili

I just returned from a sizzling hot few days in the Midwest. Despite the heat, my family and friends relished delicious garden-to-table dinners under the moon's glow.

With my father's garden overflowing with vibrant veggies, there was no shortage of yummy, healthy eats. Many creative dishes were crafted, however, the biggest hit was simply zucchini tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper then grilled. Folks were eating it up like candy.

To whip up a quick BBQ side dish, just grill up some seasoned zucchini slices. If you want to take it up a notch, make this easy peasy recipe.


Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Red Chili
This super simple, striking salad from Jamie Oliver always gets rave reviews and is a great way to enjoy an abundance of zucchini.

Health Benefits
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.

Selecting
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 squashes may be fibrous, while small ones may lack flavor.

Storing
Store unwashed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week (the sooner you eat, the better).

Recipe
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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  1. Slice zucchini lengthwise as thin as you can (use a mandolin if you have one).
     
  2. Grill on a red-hot griddle pan, or on the barbecue, until lightly charred on each side. 
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. While the zucchini is still warm, sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
     
  5. 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.)
     
  6. Sprinkle with fresh mint leaves and drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Dive in!

Source: Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Happy Days with the Naked Chef