For me, it was a lesson in the power of simplicity, how superior ingredients create the possibility of 'so much more from a whole lot less'. The lesson comes courtesy of the craftsmanship and generosity of the folks at O Olive Oil. These thin slices of baby zucchini are dressed with nothing more than (really really) good olive oil, (really really) good vinegar and a sprinkling of Maldon salt.
Even the 15-year old was impressed by the arrival of the O's beautiful bottles. We sniffed first, then read the labels. It was fun: orange? yes! lemon? yes!!
Then over the course of ten days, he learned how to make salad dressing, experimenting with sluicing the oil and vinegar with a fork, some times adding a dollop of mustard, other times fresh herbs from the side garden, matching orange to beets and lemon (and honey, his favorite) to zucchini.
Each new combination was a sensual delight, brightening salad greens and coaxing new depths of flavor from vegetables raw and roasted.
"Yummmm," I'd think, quoting a favorite olive-oil maker.
"We could drink this," said the fifteen-year old after whisking together a clear sunny-colored vinaigrette of meyer lemon olive oil and a champagne vinegar. He was right, we could have.
For simplicity like this, quality counts. It's a lesson not to be forgotten.
And while I've never before purchased really good olive oil or good vinegar, it's a lesson that has me budgeting for the good stuff from now on. My mental gyrations go like this: I happily spend $20 a pound for really good meat that's devoured in a single meal. But what if I skip the meat to purchase a bottle of olive oil that will grace lovely salads for an entire month? That's a deal I can live with.
WHAT IS CARPACCIO? Pronounced [kahr-PAH-chee-oh], carpaccio is an Italian dish, thin slices of raw beef, usually served as an appetizer. By extension, a zucchini carpaccio is thin slices of, yup, zucchini.
FROM THE ARCHIVES How about beet carpaccio? Or check the Recipe Box for more zucchini recipes.
A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK Spring & Summer Sliced Salad ... from Orangette, "the perfect salad meal for a hot summer night and a lovely side salad with grilled pork and broiled fish"
Time to table: 15 minutes
2 baby zucchini (1 per person, about 1/8 pound each)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 teaspoon good vinegar
[or of course, your own proportions, another time we tried 4:1 oil and vinegar with a little honey, very very good]
Fresh mint, optional (we tried this another time, gorgeous!)
Pea sprouts, optional (same ...)
Slice the zucchini as thin as you can (I used a Japanese mandoline). Whisk the oil and vinegar, drizzle over top. Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy, immensely, immediately.
HOW MANY CALORIES, CARBS & WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS IN ZUCCHINI
Nutrition Information Per 1/4 pound of raw zucchini, the flesh and skin both: 18 Cal (8% from Fat, 24% from Protein, 67% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 0 g Mono Fat; 4 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 17 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 11 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 0 points
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TAGS Food Recipes Cooking Vegetables Vegetable Recipes Weight Watchers Recipes Zucchini Recipes One Point Recipes Low Carb Recipes Salad Recipes Easy Vegetables Easy Salads