Zucchini Carpaccio Salad

I am racking up a nice little array of cold salads for this hot summer, and I couldn’t be happier about it. The heat isn’t going to abate anytime soon, so bring on the cool and crispy! I found this gem in the archives of Smitten Kitchen, and it is my New Favorite Thing.

It’s so wonderfully simple, and so unexpected. Zucchini sliced paper thin and salted for 20 minutes (and then rinsed) results in something completely surprising: light and supple, crunchy yet flexible. I did not know that this state of matter was possible for zucchini, and if you live in a place where you have to lock your car doors to keep people from leaving zucchini inside, this is the recipe for you. I would gladly eat this every week (and I have so far).

It doesn’t hurt that it also involves arugua, which is my most beloved salad green. It’s sharp and nutty and spicy, and nothing else tastes close to it. I love rinsing a huge bowl of it for this salad.

The lemon juice and olive oil give it a hefty tang that is so perfectly suited for these fruits of the garden. The name of this recipe originally comes from Gourmet, and carpaccio is used playfully here, since it usually refers to thinly sliced meats served in italy. But this salad is also a cousin of ceviche, because the lemon juice continually cures the zucchini and makes it even more supple. Next time I make it, I think I’ll throw in some lemon zest too. Happy summer!

Zucchini Carpaccio Salad
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 pound zucchini (about 3 large)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound arugula, stems discarded and leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (6 cups)
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated (on large holes of a box grater; 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Special equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer

-Cut zucchini crosswise into paper-thin slices with slicer. Toss zucchini slices with one teaspoon salt in a large colander set over a bowl and let drain 20 minutes.
-Rinse zucchini slices well, then drain, pressing gently on slices to extract any excess liquid. Pat zucchini slices dry with a kitchen towel.
-Put arugula in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over greens and toss. Arrange zucchini slices over arugula greens, then drizzle with remaining oil, lemon juice and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and pepper.

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