It must be quite the bountiful year for zucchini and yellow squash, which has been in our CSA box every week. I committed to Craig that we will not waste anything, and I’ve set out to find the most creative and varied uses for the stuff. We’ve had it stuffed (with red peppers, onions, bread crumbs, tomato sauce, and some mozzarella), used as the basis for “lasagna” in lieu of noodles, used in lieu of spaghetti with marinara, baked into fritters, and in a cucumber (also from the CSA box) /zuc soup. On Thursday evening, I was the sample lady at the Ellisville Community Farmer's Market where we were highlighting creative, easy recipes using local and seasonal produce. I had to make something with the squash in the frig – and a big bunch of basil I had just harvested – because I knew more zucs were coming in that day’s CSA box. What resulted was the freshest, most unique salad. So tasty that I had a least a dozen people ask if I would sell it for them to take some home. It was also a huge hit at our July 4th BBQ yesterday. No one could believe it was zucchini and squash. This is one that makes the most devout carnivore take notice.
Marinated Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 yellow squash (about 3/4 pound)
2 large garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T high quality extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, finely shredded
Combine vinegar, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Trim ends of zucchini and squash; julienne the zucchini and squash. If you have a mandolin, it works wonderfully for julienning the veggies.
Bring a small pan of water to a boil; add garlic. Remove with a slotted spoon after 1 minute. Plunge into a bowl of ice water; set aside. Add basil to boiling water; immediately remove and plunge into the ice water. Reserve 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid. Transfer the garlic and basil to a large measuring cup and add the lemon juice, olive oil, reserved water, and salt and pepper to taste. Using a stick blender, process until smooth. You may have to play with adding a bit more lemon juice and olive oil to get it to a pourable state.
Drain squash, mix with basil dressing and stir in mozzarella. I gave it another good grind of freshly ground black pepper.