Summer Squash Carpaccio

No meat in this carpaccio, but the presentation, the thin slices, and the fact that it is raw make the connection in my mind. This is one of those times you want a fixed blade slicer. It can be done with a knife, but it will be a challenge. Cousa and zucchini are ideal for this dish. This dish lends itself to variations, from really simple to simple but elegant. The dressing can be scattered as separate ingredients or made into a vinaigrette, the garnish can be skipped or be complex-it’s all up to what you want at the time.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound summer squash such as Costata Romanesca, Cousa, zucchini, Butterstick, (yry to use different colored squashes for added eye appeal and flavor)
1 tablespoon coarse salt or as needed
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (or use more mint in lieu of parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice or white wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil 

Optional Garnishes

Red onion or shallots, (2-3 tablespoons) diced finely
2-3 tablespoons small capers, drained
– Or – 1 medium red onion, peeled and shaved paper thin and rinsed in cold water 10 minutes, then dried

METHOD:

Cut the ends from the squash, and use a fixed blade slicer or sharp knife and slice the squash lengthwise (for Pattypan type, slice parallel to the widest part and form discs.) into 1/8th inch slices.

Put the squash into a large non-reactive vessel and scatter with salt, gently turning so the salt gets to all the squash. Let squash sit for 10 minutes, then test to see if the squash has become pliable. If it still is brittle, let sit 5 minutes more. Rinse the squash well to remove the salt, then pat dry and drain in a colander.

While the squash dries, make the dressing: Put the garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper, and herbs into a blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Slowly stream in the oil until the dressing is emulsified.

When the squash is dry, arrange it on a platter and drizzle the dressing over it.

Add the garnishes-sprinkle with the diced onion and capers, or if you are using the shaved onions, pave the surface of the squash with the onions.

Serve cold or room temperature.

Chef’s Notes and Tips:

  • Add the squash to the dressing and toss to coat. Marinate 10-15 minutes and then plate.
  • Toss the squash with all the dressing ingredients but the oil and marinate for 10-20 minutes, and then drizzle with the oil.
  • Toss the dressed squash with the garnishes, and add some young arugula leaves and almonds to create a salad.
  • For a more elegant presentation, use the medium comb on the slicer and shred the squash into fairly fine strips before salting. Once tender, dress the strips and then use a serving fork to twirl the squash into little mounds, or pack the squash strips into a small ramekin, and then place in the center of a plate and arrange arugula and the garnishes around the squash.

YIELD: Serves 4