Courgette Carpaccio Salad

Koen and I had a mini-cookout a couple of weeks ago. ‘Quick and light’ was the motto and we kicked-off with this Courgette Carpaccio starter that is bursting with flavour!

It is based on a recipe that I found in the September 2016 edition of BBC Good Food magazine.

A carpaccio is what the dish was called, which is true is you look at it from a slicing perspective, but you can also see it as some sort of ceviche due to the “lemon curing” of the thin courgette slices. Consequently, the dish is super fresh with the rocket leaves, mint and toasted pine nuts providing additional layers of flavours and textures. You can have the salad on the table in under 10 minutes and looks pretty impressive (if I say so myself).

The recipe (serves 4)

  • 2 courgettes (ideally a mix of yellow and green)
  • handful mint leaves
  • handful toasted pine nuts
  • handful rocket leaves
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 50g ricotta salata, shaved
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil (I used an EVOO basil oil)
  1. Cut the ends off the courgettes and cut them to make 12cm / 5 inches long sections
  2. Use a mandolin or swivel blade peeler to shave at least 8 thin slices from each courgette
  3. Arrange the courgettes, overlapping, over the plates and trim the edges on the plate to make perfect rectangles. Season with flaky sea salt and half of the lemon juice
  4. Stack the mint leaves together, roll tightly, then finely shred
  5. Scatter the mint, pine nuts and rocket leaves over the courgettes, then drizzle everything generously with (basil) olive oil and more lemon juice
  6. Scatter over the ricotta salata, finish with the lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil

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Suggested tweaks:
As an alternative to the rather hard to find ricotta salata, it was mentioned that you should use pecorino or parmesan. However, given the salty taste and slightly porous structure of the ricotta salata, I would actually revert to a good quality Greek feta.

Verdict: 9/10, delicious, also in the summer.

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