courgette ribbon salad
+ JUMP TO RECIPE
Raw, unpeeled, sliced into thin ribbons (no spiralizer necessary), marinated in lemon, chilled, tossed with crunchy nuts or almonds, with a drop of excellent olive oil and a plump raisin or two – that’s exactly how I like my courgettes.
What to do with courgettes? How to make this abundantly available all year round vegetable tasty? Courgette cakes and breads, braised and spiralised; courgetti and courgini; we make all kinds of efforts and it’s still not quite awesome. It will never be asparagus or a truffle.
But a lot of vegetables can be eaten raw and that’s how I like my courgettes best. As long ago as I can remember, I’d slip slices of fresh zucchini in my sandwiches instead of pickles; I’d cut it into my pita wrap or have it on the side of a plate of ham or chicken. Like my other raw habit – mushrooms – it always earned me odd looks.
Courgettes are bland, insipid and watery like hell. But they have a refreshing crunch and respond with much enthusiasm to being doused with lemon juice; in fact it’s a grossly undervalued pair, courgettes and lemon. Their seeds are smaller compared to cucumbers and they don’t need to be peeled.
I’ve seen this dish called loftily ‘carpaccio’ but it’s a bit of an overkill to call anything sliced thinly and served raw ‘carpaccio’. It’s a salad in my books, fresh courgette salad for want of a better word to tell salads made with raw veg and leaves from potato or chicken salads.
The courgette needs to be sliced lengthwise, otherwise it may break up easily into little pieces; thinly, but not see-through or it will tear. Adding the raisins to the macerating courgette makes them (raisins) swell and plump up. There’s no need to squeeze the living daylights out of marinated ribbons but they need to be towelled off a bit so there’s no watery soup at the bottom of the salad bowl.
And then, like in every salad, there must be something green and something crunchy: almond flakes and pistachios, but if you’d prefer walnuts for example, that will work fine too.
courgette ribbon saladServings: 4Time: 1 hour
- 3-4 medium courgettes
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 tsp raisins
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced thinly
- ½ lemon, juice only
- 1 tbsp. almond flakes
- 1 tbsp. raw pistachios
- ½ tsp green nori flakes
- olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
1. Slice the courgettes into ribbons using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler. Place it in a colander set over a bowl and toss with the salt and sugar. Stir in the raisins and garlic slices. Leave for about 30 minutes to macerate.
2. Shake the courgette ribbons off excess liquid and pat dry them with paper towels. Arrange them on a large plate or platter and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Chill in the fridge for between 15 minutes to an hour, turning them around in the juice halfway through.
3. Toast the almond flakes in a dry frying pan. Roughly chop the pistachios.
4. To serve, arrange the courgettes in a serving bowl or individual plates discarding some or most of the garlic as you go. Sprinkle with the almond flakes, pistachios, nori flakes and sparingly drizzle with olive oil and a few drops of honey.